University of Twente Student Theses


Making the Invisible Visible: Exploring Gender Bias in AI Voice Assistants

Assink, Lena Marie (2021) Making the Invisible Visible: Exploring Gender Bias in AI Voice Assistants.

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Abstract:Background: Voice assistants are the future of technology interactions, but releasing predominantly female voices can reinforce subconscious gender biases and female stereotypes. A genderless voice assistant was developed to overcome any possible biases. However, due to its novelty, the effects of a genderless voice assistant have not been tested. Research aim: This research investigates if voice assistants with different gendered voices (female, male, genderless) affect the users’ perception of trust, attractiveness, and usability. Moreover, it is examined if the context of use moderates the effect of the voice assistant in the car, phone, and home. Furthermore, a moderating effect of the participant's age and gender is tested. Method: A 3x3 experimental design with nine video conditions of a voice assistant-human interaction, followed by a questionnaire. The gathered data contained 315 randomly selected participants. The data analysis technique encompassed a factor analysis and three MANOVAs. Results: No significant effects of the voice assistants’ gender on trust, attractiveness, and usability were found. Furthermore, there is no moderating effect of the context of use, nor a moderating effect for the participants’ age or gender. Conclusion: Since the results of the current study did not show an effect of the voice assistants’ gender on users’ perception of trust, attractiveness, or usability, it might be the case that male, female as well as genderless voices are interpreted the same by users. Hence, it is recommended to research and develop more genderless voice assistant alternatives to overcome gender biases and create a more inclusive future.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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