Tech Digest daily roundup: Apple develops gender-neutral Siri voice


Apple has developed a new Siri voice, now available in the beta versions of its iOS 15.4 software, that doesn’t sound obviously male or female. The decision to introduce a gender-neutral voice is one that sees the tech giant taking yet another step away from the criticism that, historically, digital assistants have reinforced unfair gender stereotypes. Over the years, industry observers and experts argued how the creation of voice assistants with female-sounding names — like Alexa, Siri and Cortana — which also speak with female-sounding voices, implied that women should be the ones to do your bidding at any time and even take your abuse. A U.N. study additionally called out the female voiced-assistants and their submissive and sometimes even flirty and coy styles. Tech Crunch

Having initially been Oppo’s guinea pig series used to demo some unusual and innovative technologies, the Find X series has become its flagship range, pushing high-end specs into a sleek and attractive device. Gone are the days where a Find X phone has a pop-up camera, or anything else a little bit wacky. Nowadays it’s about having a sleek, ultra-premium device with hardware specs up there with the best of them.  Last year’s Find X3 Pro was a fantastic device, as was the Find X2 Pro before it. So can the Find X5 Pro follow up on the standards delivered by those two? Pocket Lint 

The UK’s electric vehicle (EV) market is rapidly expanding, with infrastructure and financial support increasingly encouraging more EV brands to set up shop on UK shores. Manufacturers such as Rimac and NIO have already began building a presence, placing divisions of their research and development (R&D) facilities in Warwickshire. With departments in other key markets, it indicates increasing interest in what the UK industry could offer. Polestar is the next big-name brand to follow this trend, announcing its intention to invest in a manufacturing facility in the Midlands to develop and produce a chassis for its new flagship Polestar 5. Automotive World 

Increasing numbers of exciting new electric vehicle models and historically high gasoline prices are driving a surge in EV sales in the U.S. Sales are expected to total about 670,000 in 2022, according to a forecast by market consultant AutoPacific.  That would be a 37% increase from 2021’s 488,000 EV sales and marks the second year of what will be a long string of large annual hikes in electric car and truck sales, the California-based consultancy said.  AutoPacific is predicting that EV sales nationally will top the one million mark sometime in 2024 and hit two million—more than 10 percent of a healthy year’s total new vehicle sales—by 2026. That compares to less than 3% of sales in 2021. Forbes

We’ve known for months that EA has been questioning the value of its nearly three-decade-long relationship with FIFA, the international soccer governing body whose name has become synonymous with an ultra-popular video game series. Now, though, newly leaked statements attributed to EA CEO Andrew Wilson detail how “ironically, the FIFA license has actually been an impediment” to some of the ways EA wants to “grow the franchise.” “Our players tell us they want more modes of play, different things beyond 11 vs. 11 and different types of gameplay,” Wilson said in a November all-hands meeting, according to a Video Games Chronicle report. “I would tell you, it’s been a fight to get FIFA to acknowledge the types of things that we want to create because they say our license only covers certain categories….” Ars Technica



Chris Price
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