March 14, 2019

Meet Q, the first genderless voice assistant

Q Gender neutral voice assistant

Voice-driven digital interactions will be an important part of our lives going forward. Beyond performance upgrades, thinking about their experiences and relationship to culture are becoming more prevalent. Virtue (Vice’s agency) alongside Pride Copenhagen, technologists, and linguists unveiled a genderless voice assistant named Q at this year’s SXSW.

What’s the clue for gender in voices?

  • male voices are usually 175 – 225 hertz
  • female voices between 100 – 140 hertz
  • between 140 – 175 hertz is considered gender neutral
  • elongated vowels and sharper pronunciation of the letter ‘s’ are considered more female sounding

Why did the consortium decide to create Q?

Technology companies often choose to gender technology believing it will make people more comfortable adopting it. Unfortunately this reinforces a binary perception of gender, and perpetuates stereotypes that many have fought hard to progress. As society continues to break down the gender binary, recognising those who neither identify as male nor female, the technology we create should follow. Q is an example of what we hope the future holds; a future of ideas, inclusion, positions and diverse representation in technology.

You can see Q in action here.

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