The Genderless Voice

VIRTUE, Copenhagen / COPENHAGEN PRIDE / 2019

Demo Film
MP3 Original Language
Demo Film






“Copenhagen Pride works to challenge the gender binary and combat harmful and often limiting gender stereotypes that fail to recognize non-binary gender identities. We, alongside Pride movements all over the world, believe that gender is a complex spectrum and that people should have the freedom to self-identify and the opportunity to see themselves reflected and recognized both in society and in their everyday life - binary and non-binary alike. We didn’t brief Virtue, but instead, they came to us with a powerful idea that resonated with our core and mission. With Q we aim to get the attention of leading technology companies who work with AI to ensure they are aware that a gender binary normativity excludes many people and to inspire them by showing how easy it would be to recognize that more than two genders exist." Thomas Rasmussen, Head of Communication, Pride Copenhagen


Boot up the options for your digital voice assistant of choice and you’re likely to find two options for the gender you prefer interacting with: male or female. The problem is, that binary choice isn’t an accurate representation of the complexities of gender. Some people don’t identify as either male or female, and they may want their voice assistant to mirror that identity. As third gender options are being recognized across the globe, it feels stagnant that technology is still stuck in the past only providing two binary options. That’s why Copenhagen Pride is launching Q, the world’s first genderless voice for voice AI. Created for a future where we are no longer defined by gender.


The project is confronting a new digital universe fraught with problems. It’s no accident that Siri, Cortana, and Alexa all have female voices, but as designers make that choice, they run the risk of reinforcing gender stereotypes and excluding people who identify beyond binary gender norms. With Q, the thinking goes, we can not only make technology more inclusive but also use that technology to spark conversation on social issues. When we launched Q sparking a global conversation was at the core of the strategy. Instead of going straight to the major technology companies and asking them to implement Q, we gave the power to the people and launched Q as a PR driven campaign that encourages people to share Q with Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. To do so, we worked with two target groups; the global LGBTQ community and key opinion leaders in technology.


Led by the agency, a team of linguists, technologists, and sound designers began by recording the voices of two dozen people who identify as transgender or nonbinary. After testing several different versions across 4600 participants, the result was a voice that was perceived genderneutral by the majority. The voice sits between 145 and 175 hertz, a range that research shows we perceive as more gender-neutral. The voice lives on and was supported by a launch film on all major social channels, a global PR push, and a launch event at SXSW hosted by Equal AI. Within the first week, Q had traveled across the globe in media like Wired, The Guardian, BBC, Japan Today, The Hindu and El Pais reaching more than 6.7 BN eyeballs.


From March 4th 2019 to March 28th 2019 generated

Total reach: 6.7 BN

Total shares: +50.000

Average shares: 515

Journalist reached: 1,380,571

Companies who reached out to implement Q: +50

General press highlights: CNN, Fox News, The Telegraph, NowThis, The Mirror, CNBC, The Guardian, Yahoo News, VICELAND, Bloomberg, Daily Mail, Evening Standard, ABC, BBC, NPR, El Pais, Financial Times, GQ, Trendhunter, The Inquirer, Metro, MSN, Japan Today and The Hindu.

Tech press highlights: Fast Company, Wired, The Future Laboratory, TechCrunch, Techrabyte, and Techtimes Industry press highlights: AdAge, Adweek, Campaign Live, It’s Nice That, Design Taxi and Mumbrella.

* and reports attached

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