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Is Siri sexist? UN cautions against biased voice assistants

Technology
Are the female voices behind Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa amplifying gender bias around the world? The United Nations thinks so. A report released Wednesday by the UN's culture and science organization raises concerns about what it describes as the "hardwired subservience" built into default female-voiced assistants operated by Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft. The report is called "I'd Blush If I Could." It's a reference to an answer Apple's Siri gives after hearing sexist insults from users. It says it's a problem that millions of people are getting accustomed to commanding female-voiced assistants that are "servile, obedient and unfailingly polite," even when confronted with harassment from humans. The agency recommends tech companies stop making digital assistants female by defa...
EE stops selling Huawei phones as it launches 5G

EE stops selling Huawei phones as it launches 5G

Technology
EE will not be selling the next generation of Huawei phones due to concerns about whether the devices could receive operating system updates from Google.It follows the news that Huawei's access to Android updates has been revoked by Google in accordance with sanctions issued by the White House. A spokesperson for EE, which is the UK's largest mobile network, has confirmed to Sky News that existing Huawei customers are not affected and devices that are still in stock will still be sold.But they added that the company won't be selling new Huawei smartphones as part of its 5G push until it has clarification on the situation with Android as it could leave customers without security updates.The announcement was made as the company launched the first phase of its 5G roll-out, which will launch p...
Female AI voice assistants reinforce gender bias, UN report says

Female AI voice assistants reinforce gender bias, UN report says

Technology
Artificial intelligence voice assistants, such as Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri, are perpetuating and spreading gender stereotypes, says a new UN report. Titled "I'd blush if I could", the report from UNESCO says the almost exclusive market of female voice assistants fuels stereotypes that women are "obliging, docile and eager-to-please helpers". And with assistants responding to requests no matter the manner in which they are asked, this also reinforces the idea in some communities that women are "subservient and tolerant of poor treatment".Canalys, a technology research company, has estimated that 100 million "smart speakers", which are used to interact with voice assistants, were sold in 2018.According to the UNESCO report, technology giants such as Amazon and Apple have in the p...
Huawei’s Android loss: How it affects you

Huawei’s Android loss: How it affects you

Technology
The restrictions being placed on Huawei's access to the Android operating system will cast a long shadow over Tuesday's launch of the Chinese company's latest handsets.The firm has invited press from across the globe to London to witness the unveiling of its Honor 20 Series smartphones.The BBC understands the devices will still offer the full Android experience - including use of Google's own app store.But unless a clash with the US government is resolved, future launches are set to deliver a much more limited experience - assuming Huawei decides to run them off Android at all.As yet it is unclear whether the restrictions Google has imposed on Huawei will be long-lasting. ...