• Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Personalized voice assistance: from Siri and Cortana to mom’s voice


May 6, 2021

When they started talking from phones, navigators and operating systems, the guiding voices, in short, the virtual assistants were women. Their voices are feminine. Siri aside, Alexa, Cortana and others immediately showed up with persuasive but determined voices. This was followed by immediate criticism and social disapproval, especially social, which determines immediate changes in commercial direction. Is it possible that the equation must always reappear: assistant = woman? To which, with the iOS 10 update of Siri, the first male voice has appeared. At this point, the question has shifted to the fact that, in any case, the default option was and remained a female voice and that, to replace it, it was necessary to look for the alternative and wait for the device to download all the information necessary to change the settings. Over the years, new voices of all kinds have been added to the voice assistance functions. Apple has recently added two more new voices to Siri’s English offerings and eliminated the default selection of “female voice.” Each person who configures Siri chooses a voice, from the first time, to their taste. Linguistic agnosticism, as well as overcoming prejudices at least on a technological level, opens the way to an interesting perspective: the personalization of preferences. Phonology studies sound systems, also from the point of view of the action they exercise in the mind. useful for this reflection, it is possible to imagine the evolution of a vocal assistance that takes into account the diversity of sounds, pronunciations, even pauses and tone to intercept our tastes, even our needs. Because I cannot feel attracted today , from a voice that knows how to reassure me or, if I have a headache, that you speak softly, slowly, to make me understand what you are saying? tors of fuel installed by Eni in some service stations in Italy. In fact, he is able to speak the local dialect, in this case Romanesque. But we are just at the beginning. Siri alone handles 25 billion requests per month on over 500 million devices and supports 21 languages ​​in 36 countries. Let’s imagine what could happen if the path of personalization were to have a commercial interest and if rumors could guide us in ecommerce purchasing operations. Each day, depending on the mood, I could choose a different voice, warm or contemptuous if I enjoy being treated badly, otherwise sensual or professional. With the dialect that makes me feel at home, maybe even able to learn, through the relationship, what are the things that bother me to listen to and what the words that can make the climate more serene, even for a commercial transaction. A pace that accelerates when I’m in a hurry and takes necessary breaks in the evening when concentration decreases. Sometimes, even, I might choose the option with Mom’s voice.