Smart speakers like Alexa and Google are ‘SEXIST’ – Science Story


Smart home devices understand men better than women, according to a new YouGov survey. 

It found 67 per cent of female owners say that their device fails to respond to a voice command at least ‘sometimes’, compared to 54 per cent of male owners. 

It also revealed men are ruder to their devices but experience fewer problems being understood.  


The smart devices seem to respond less well to women than men, based on the survey results. 

While more than half (66 per cent) men had no problems with their devices, answering that it ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ failed, only 32 per cent of women said the same. 

It also unearthed that women are far nicer to their devices. 

Almost half of women (45 per cent) say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, while their male counterparts use manners just 30 per cent of the time.  

Previous research has found an inherent bias in personal assistants, favouring men over women.

They struggle to understand the quiet and ‘breathy’ voices of women compared with the deeper voices of men.

The software is often developed with the help of male voice examples and so lacks a deeper understanding of female commands.

The comment was made by Delip Rao, the CEO and co-founder of R7 Speech Sciences, a company that uses artificial intelligence to understand speech. 

Mr Rao explained that the fundamental frequency of a person’s voice is what is often perceived as the pitch.

‘This is also called mean F0. The range of tones produced by our vocal tract is a function of the distribution around that.

‘We know the mean F0 for men is around 120Hz and much higher for women (~200Hz),’ he said on his website.


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