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Your Genderless AI Voice Assistant Has Arrived

AI has been touted time and again as a groundbreaking tool to help overcome gender bias in society.

Evolving yet again, head on over to YouTube to take a listen to Q, the first genderless voice AI. Q, created by Copenhagen Pride and Virtue Nordic, has a goal of ending gender bias in AI assistants. But, to what end? Is a genderless AI really necessary?

It’s clear that AI is impacting our lives on a more frequent basis. Autocorrect, driving directions, and e-mail spam filters are examples of AI that touch our lives on a daily basis. On a more personal — and surprising — basis, 27% of millennials recently surveyed indicated that they would date a robot. You may think this is far fetched reality is too close to HBO’s Westworld, but how comfortable were you getting in to an Uber or Lyft a decade ago?

On the human resources hiring front, it’s easier to recognize the immediate utility of AI. It’s been used to mask the gender and race of applicants in online internship matches, and has also been used to create virtual interview rooms where avatars strip gender and mask an interviewees voice.

Though, while the utility of a genderless AI voice is less apparent, discounting the subtle impact of gender can lead to devastating effect. In 2014, a study was released which found that people don’t fear hurricanes with female names, despite evidence that hurricanes with female names are more destructive than their male named counterparts.

There’s no doubt that we are now accustomed to humanizing our AI assistants by the likes of Alexa and Siri… though, perhaps a gender-neutral AI is just what we need.

Looking for more coverage in tech by Columnist Adam Zuckerman? Check out his latest on OnStar’s “stolen vehicle slowdown” tech, here.