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One might think that yesterday’s celebration of International Women’s Day would have prompted the makers of voice assistants — namely Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, among others —  to do something about their reliance on female personas. Only Siri, its name aside, has a male voice option.

Why would it be so hard to provide this option? The navigation app Waze often changes its voices. Even the New York Times — yes, the New York Times! — lets you select a voice option for its popular Scientific 7-Minute Workout app. (For the record, I prefer Phoebe to guide me through my planks, squats, and abdominal crunches.)

At least Amazon’s Alexa is an unabashed feminist. As Khari Johnson reports, ask “‘Alexa, who inspires you?’ and she will talk about mathematician Ada Lovelace or scientist Marie Curie, as well as gymnast Simone Biles and Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai.”

As always, please send news tips to Khari Johnson and guest post submissions to John Brandon. Be sure to visit our Bots Channel for comprehensive news on bots and messaging.

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Thanks for reading,

Blaise Zerega

Editor in Chief
P.S. Please enjoy this video from WSJ’s Joanna Stern: Alexa, Siri, Cortana: Why All Your Bots Are Female?

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