As of March 31, 2021, when Apple released the iOs 14.5 beta update to its operating system, Siri no longer defaults to a female voice when using American English. Users should now pick between two male and two female voices while empowering the voice associate. This move could be interpreted as a response to the backlash against the gender bias embodied by Siri

In any case, how significant is this change truly? 

Siri has been criticized for embodying several facets of gender bias in artificial intelligence. Digital sociologists Yolande Strengers and Jenny Kennedy argue that Siri, along with other voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, has been developed to “carry out ‘wife work — domestic duties that have traditionally fallen on (human) wives.” 

Siri was initially just voiced as female and modified to not just perform “wifely” obligations, for example, checking the climate or setting a morning caution, yet in addition to react coquettishly. The use of sexualized expresses by Siri has been widely recorded by many YouTube recordings with titles, for example, “Things You Should NEVER Ask SIRI” (which has more than 18 million perspectives). 


Apple has been censured as advancing a sexualized and cliché picture of women that contrarily hurts sex standards. A 2019 examination by The Watchman uncovers that Apple composed inward rules in 2018 requesting that designers have Siri divert notices of women’s liberation and other “delicate subjects.” It’s not satisfactory what the rules were for hard-coding coquettish rebounds. 

The language used by Siri was (and still is) a blend of an all-around cliché language model, including jokes hardcoded by designers. A 2016 investigation of mainstream language models used by programming organizations noticed that word affiliations were profoundly cliché. In the investigation, terms, for example, scholar and commander were gendered males, while the inverse was valid for terms like a homemaker. 

Lawful researcher Céline Castets-Renard and I have been examining language models used by Google Interpret and Microsoft Bing that have uncovered comparative issues. We input sexually unbiased expressions in romanized Mandarin into the interpretation stages, driving the interpretation calculations to choose the sex in English and French. No matter what, the Google calculation chose male and female pronouns along cliché sex lines. The Microsoft calculation, alternately, only chose male pronouns. 

The utilization of models, for example, these in Siri’s calculation may clarify why, when you type in any corporate title (CEO, CFO, and so on), a male emoticon would be proposed. While this has since been addressed — likely because of analysis — in the most recent iOS, in case Siri is approached to recover a photograph of a commander or a software engineer, the pictures seen up are as yet a progression of men. 


The possibility of the entirely coquettish remote helper motivated Spike Jonze’s 2013 film Her, in which the male hero becomes hopelessly enamoured with his menial helper. However, it is difficult to envision how one-sided language models could make a remote helper play with users. This appears prone to have been deliberate. 

Because of these reactions, Apple logically eliminated a portion of the more blatant qualities and hardcoded away a portion of the more hostile reactions to client questions. This was managed without causing too many ripple effects. Notwithstanding, the record of YouTube recordings shows Siri turning out to be dynamically less gendered. 

One of the final reactions was that Siri had a female voice, which stayed the default even though a male voice was additionally given as a choice since it is a 2011 dispatch. Presently, users should choose for themselves assuming they need a female or a male voice. 

Users do not have the foggiest idea, nonetheless, the language model that the menial helper is prepared on, or regardless of whether there are still traditions of coy Siri left in the code. 


Organizations like Apple have a gigantic duty in moulding cultural standards. A 2020 National Public Media report uncovered that during the pandemic, the quantity of Americans using remote helpers expanded from 46 to 52 per cent, and this pattern will just proceed. 

What is more, many people interact with virtual assistants openly in their homes, which means that biased AIs frequently interact with children and can skew their perception of human gender relations.

Removing the default female voice in Siri is important for feminism in that it reduces the immediate association of Siri with women. On the other hand, there is also the possibility of using a gender-neutral voice, such as the one released in 2019 by a group led by Copenhagen Pride.

Changing Siri’s voice does not address issues related to biased language models, which don’t need a female voice to be used. It also doesn’t address hiring bias in the company, where women only make up 26 per cent of leadership roles in research and development.

If Apple is going to continue quietly removing gender bias from Siri, there is still quite a bit of work to do. Rather than making small and gradual changes, Apple should take the issue of gender discrimination head-on and distinguish itself as a leader.

Allowing large portions of the population to interact with biased AI threatens to reverse recent advances in gender norms. Making Siri and other virtual assistants completely bias-free should therefore be an immediate priority for Apple and the other software giants.

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