Voice assistants, the secretaries and helpers of the digital world, have long been envisioned as female. Apple is hoping to put a stop to this bias by freeing the OG “female voice” as the default choice. In addition, it is introducing two new voices for English speakers.
The update, available in the latest beta version of iOS, allows users setting up Siri to select a voice for the AI assistant, rather than let Apple choose the female voice for them. According to TechCrunch, Siri’s voice is already “male” by default in certain countries and languages, but this would be the first time users are given the option to pick a voice right off the bat.
Additionally, two new English-language voices have joined the new iOS beta update, and can be selected by English-speaking users around the globe.
To create the voices, Apple trained its Neural text-to-speech AI with recordings from source talents, and the end results sound pretty animated and natural:
Here’s a recording of Siri’s new lineup of American voices in iOS 14.5. Voices 1 and 4 are the existing ones, voices 2 and 3 are the new ones. pic.twitter.com/6emei4B3Z9
— John Gruber (@gruber) April 1, 2021
“We’re excited to introduce two new Siri voices for English speakers and the option for Siri users to select the voice they want when they set up their device,” the company said. “This is a continuation of Apple’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, and products and services that are designed to better reflect the diversity of the world we live in.”
This content was originally published here.