What Happened to Klaus?

We are surrounded by helpful electronic female voices in the guises of Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Hello Google.  As a man, I find these soothing female assistants to be cheerful, calming, and reassuring, sort of like an electronic Mom.

While some people want to get into the inherent sexist gender bias of having all these helpers be female, here’s my question.  Are there not female computer users who would find the deep reassuring tones of a Klaus*,  Cort,  Alex, a manly Hey Google more to their liking?  (*Siri and Klaus both mean “victory”)  What about people with high frequency hearing loss, like I have.  I know for me it is easier to hear a lower pitched man’s voice than a higher pitched woman’s voice. (Hey! I am listening, I just can’t hear you.)

As it turns out, there is a sex change operation available for nearly all our favorite avatars, and I have the instructions below.


Siri

All of Siri’s options are in the Settings app, so changing voices and languages is pretty simple:

  • Tap the Settings icon on your home screen.
  • Tap “General” on the left side of the Settings app, and select “Siri” on the right.
  • Tap “Voice Gender” to toggle between male and female. Female is the default.
  • To change Siri’s language, tap “Language” and select your preferred tongue from the list. Note that Siri’s voice genders aren’t available in all languages, so your gender choice may vanish depending on the language you choose.  (from Lifehacker)

Cortana

Apparently, Microsoft has missed the boat on this one, and Cortana can only use a female voice.  Sorry.


Alexa

You can change Alexa’s gender and name.

Here’s how to change Alexa’s name on your Echo.
  • Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  • Tap the home page button on the bottom-left. …
  • Select the menu button on the top-left of the page.
  • Choose settings.
  • Pick “Device Settings.”
  • Choose the Echo that you want to modify.
  • Tap “Wake Word.”

Now you’ll be able to change the name Alexa to either “Amazon,” “Echo,” or “Computer.” Once you’ve picked one of the wake words, it will respond to that instead of “Alexa,” so make sure you remember which one you pick. If you’re a fan of the band Radiohead, consider picking “Computer” so you can say “OK computer” to wake up your Amazon Echo.  (from CNBC)

  • Open the Alexa app.
  • Click on the gear icon.
  • Select the device you want to change.
  • Click on Language.
  • Click on and open the drop-down menu and select the language of your choice.
  • Click Save Changes.
  • Click Yes, Change to confirm.  (from Dgit)

Hello Google

First of all, this is really a gender neutral name already.  Is Hello her first name?  Come on Google, can’t you come up with a name?

On Google Home you’ll need to go into the app, select More settings from the hamburger menu, and then Preferences followed by Assistant Voice. The male voice is labeled as “Voice 2” while the female option is “Voice 1.” That’s it.  (from LifeHacker)


So that’s it for those of us who want a male assistant.

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. Owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, Bob also conducts security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. Bob also teaches Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. Bob works as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. Bob has worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments Bob is a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. Bob has been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at http://wyzguyscybersecurity.com
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