Apple has recently released a new update to its Siri voice-recognition software, which will allow you to add two new voices. This means that you will now have access to a gender-neutral female voice and an alternate male voice. While this is a welcome feature, you may also want to consider removing the default female voice that comes with the product.
Adding two new voices
In the latest beta version of iOS, Apple is adding two new voices to Siri. These voices are part of a wider plan to bring more diversity to the smart assistant.
Before today, Siri had a single voice that was voiced by a female actress. The new voice will sound more natural. This is the first time Apple has allowed consumers to select a voice that is agnostic in regard to gender.
Siri uses machine learning to learn the right answer to a query. As such, it helps users discover content and provides personalization. It also addresses abusive language. By correcting bias in responses, the company hopes to make Siri more inclusive.
Siri’s new feature also includes a “Voice” section in the Settings app. Voices can be chosen to match the preferred language. They will include male-sounding voices for English and female-sounding ones for other languages.
To set up a new voice, you will need to download the necessary files. Once you have downloaded the files, your device will start using the new voice.
Eliminating the default “female voice” selection
Apple has eliminated the default “female voice” selection for Siri, and is replacing it with two new voices. In the latest iOS 14.5 beta, users will now be prompted to select the voice that best suits their needs.
The move is part of Apple’s efforts to increase diversity and reduce bias. A UNESCO report cited a number of biases in the voice interfaces of many smart devices, and suggested that using a female voice as the default sends a message that women are submissive and docile.
As part of its commitment to diversity, Apple is introducing new Siri voices that are gender-neutral and include regional dialects. These voices are built using Apple’s Neural text-to-speech engine, which generates natural-sounding speech.
When the update is released in the general public, users will be able to choose between two additional voices: a male and a female. This will be available on iPads, iPhones, Macs and PCs.
Adding a gender-neutral voice
Apple is set to add a gender-neutral voice to Siri, as it continues its efforts to provide more diversity to its virtual assistant. It introduced a new female voice last year, and now it will also provide non-binary voices.
A new voice named Quinn will be available in iOS 15.4. The name is a reference to Olympic gold medallist Quinn, who is trans. But even though it comes across as non-binary, the voice still sounds human.
The new voice will be available in the first half of March. Users can choose to enable it or turn it off. Those who don’t like it can change back to the original voice.
Until now, Apple had always defaulted to a female voice. However, in response to complaints about the gender-neutral voice, it decided to add another option to the mix.
The fifth voice will be named Quinn. According to Apple, the new voice was recorded by a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Neither Apple nor the recording artist have provided further details.