I chose voice assistants as a research area because it combined my interests in emerging technology, communications and non-screen based interface design.
Voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri are already in our homes, playing music and talking to our kids. They're poised to become a very big deal. But why is it that people so often have less than great experiences with them?
And why were these voice assistants all female-coded?
I'm far from the first one to think about this.
From major publications and blogs, to guidelines that made me wonder why I even bothered, to the actual UNESCO report on the subject, the breadth of documentation on the intersection of gender, voice assistants, and AI as a whole was vast and interesting.
What I found was that although there were a lot of guidelines for designing better interactions with AI, and critiques of the status quo, I didn't yet know what a 'better' voice assistant might look like or how it would work.
I thought I might try and find out.