Everywhere you look today, you’d find your computer-run devices using a lady’s voice. Today we have female actors voicing the prominent computers in gaming titles like Mass Effect and Halo. Other examples of a computer having a lady’s voice include Apple’s popular Siri, the default voice in most GPS navigators and even the voice that most IVR systems use. But why exactly is it that computers are given a female voice? We find out.
Universally liked female voices are easier to find
Female voices that appeal to a wide audience are easier to find than male voices. This is the single biggest reason why developers working with artificial intelligence or software that needs to have voice response pick female voices as the voice of the computer.
The primal theory
Evolutionarily, we are hard wired to respond to female voices during our infancy and childhood. The primal theory attributes this to the fact that for a better part of human evolution, females were the primary caregivers for children which means that the human brain developed to prefer female voices over male voices. Both men and women respond positively to a female voice. However, a male voice, when making a negative point, is perceived as dictatorial by women and confrontational by men.
The early era of telephone and aircraft navigation era coincided with the influx of women in these then “safe” jobs as a majority of the men were shipped off to wars in the western world. This created a historical prejudice for female voices in the telephone exchange, reception, front desk help and customer care industries. When computers were first given voice, this historical prejudice was still very much in play and late developers just went with that.