Americans want female voices for government virtual assistants

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What do Siri, Alexa and Cortana all have in common? They’re female virtual assistants.

And new research from Accenture Federal Services shows that most Americans prefer it that way, particularly when it comes to their government digital assistants.

More than 60 percent of citizens prefer an assistant with a “young, female and human-sounding voice,” a new Accenture survey revealed. And the consensus was clear that Americans don’t like assistants with robotic voices, with 94 percent of respondents preferring assistants to sound human-like.

Accenture found that digital assistant preferences also vary with gender and age. Women showed a much stronger preference for a female-voiced assistant versus men — 81 percent versus 50 percent, respectively.

Additionally, Baby Boomers were less likely to prefer a young voice compared to Millennials — those born between 1979 and 1997 — but more likely to favor a voice with a casual tone.

The survey comes as government agencies prepare to adopt greater artificial intelligence capabilities into day to day operations. The General Services Administration recently conducted a pilot program to integrate their public information into digital personal assistants, ranging from web chat bots to more intricate systems resembling Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa.

Some primitive prototypes have emerged from the program, including a chat bot that gives users access to Small Business Administration licenses as well as IRS tax credits, among other services.

Accenture’s survey may provide valuable insight to government agencies as they are in the development phase of their new digital assistant programs.

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Accenture Federal Services, virtual assistant
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