Why Alexa Instead of Alex

Stereotypes inhabit comfort zones. Virtual assistants tend to be “female” in name and voice because, basically, people are more comfortable telling women what to do. Ramona Pringle at CBC News examines the trend in “Digital Sexism: Why Are All Virtual Assistants Women?

“Companies cite all sorts of research in their decision to make bots female. …  male voices are perceived as being more authoritative, whereas female voices are understood to be more helpful and supportive. These preconceptions carry over into synthetic voices, which essentially means that even computers are gender stereotyped.”

This practice reinforces the image of the subservient female every time a virtual assistant is used. The time to make a conscious decision to flout this convention is now.

Cynthia Murrell, January 19, 2017

Amazon Pulls Ahead in Ecommerce

Business Insider reports, “Amazon Is Crushing Walmart, eBay, and Target in the Growing Mobile Shopping Space.” Eugene Kim writes:

“According to a new note published by Oppenheimer this week, Amazon’s lead in the mobile shopping space is growing by a wide margin, tripling the number of US unique visitors to its mobile app over the past two years. Meanwhile, its biggest competitors like Walmart, eBay, and Target saw almost no growth in the same time.”

Amazon’s mobile app has attracted half our nation’s online shoppers. This is especially important as shopping continues its shift from PCs to mobile devices. Business insider forecasts that mobile sales will reach 45% of the US ecommerce market by 2020.

Cynthia Murrell, January 19, 2017