Amazon’s Alexa first debuted in the year 2014 on the 14th of September. It’s been 8 years since the AI assistant’s debut and Amazon still provided Alexa’s female voice as the only option for its users, until today. A recent announcement made by Amazon states that a new male voice will be available for the users from today who will have a new name as well.
Jeff Bezos was the one who first sketched an Alexa device on a whiteboard in 2011. He was the one who created Alexa. After 2011 he spent 3 years developing a model for Alexa and bringing her to life and finally launched her in 2014.
Many advancements have not occurred yet in the AI assistant industry even though they are the most used devices in many families. Many producers of AI devices have given options to their users to choose the voice they like but Amazon which is the largest provider of AI services for a long time only had a female voice for Alexa.
There are certain psychological and scientific findings that stress the fact that female voices are more pleasant and more likable to people of all genders and that’s the reason why AI assistants have a female voice. This might be the main reason why Amazon started with a female voice and named her Alexa.
Talking about other AI companies like Apple who has Siri, Google who has Google Assistant, and Samsung who has Bixby have given their users a choice between different voices which include both male and female voices. But since Amazon has launched Alexa it has kept a single choice for its users and that is having a female assistant voice.
The original voice behind Alexa is Nina Rolle, she is a Colorado-based voiceover artist. Amazon over time did provide its users with voices other than Alexa. These voices were more like fun publicity stunts to attract more users and were available for a short period of time frame. Amazon once provided its users with the voices of Shaquille O’Neal and Melissa McCarthy. This update was made last week.
But the male voice that Amazon added recently is a non-celebrity voice and also has a new name.
You can get a glimpse of the male voice below:
The new male voice is quite soothing and calming to hear and comes with a new wake-up name just like Alexa. Amazon’s Alexa has shown excellent performance by reacting to its names like Computer, Echo, and Amazon. These are the four wake-up words for Alexa. But the new feature allows users to use new names which are often titled by Amazon as “Ziggy” names which can be gender inclusive and not discriminate against people.
Amazon has long to go to come up with more gender-inclusive names and ideas as it still sometimes refers to Alexa as a female, even though it has specified in its documents that it does not attach a gender to any of its devices and Alexa is an AI and AIs don’t have any gender.