Apple will remove the female voice as standard for its Siri assistant, according to TechCrunch. The change is effective as of today’s release of the sixth beta of iOS 14.5. Once this latest update is announced to all customers, iPhone and iPad users will be asked to choose their preferred Siri voice during device setup. Previously, Siri failed a female voice, and users could choose between other voices in the settings after that fact.
In addition to this change, Apple is also introducing two completely new voices for Siri as according to TechCrunch, “Use source talent footage, which is then run through Apple̵
The news is the latest example of large technology companies trying to remove gender associations from their digital voice assistants. Studies have found that when assistants use a female sound as a standard, it can reinforce bias and negative stereotypes. Some embarrassing mistakes have been made along the way as these technologies evolve, but Apple’s latest step is one of the most important yet.
“We are excited to introduce two new Siri voices for English speakers and the ability for Siri users to choose the voice they want when setting up the device,” said Apple. TechCrunch in a statement. “This is a continuation of Apple’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, and products and services designed to better reflect the diversity of the world we live in.” Siri takes over 25 billion requests monthly over 500 million units, according to TechCrunch.