Voice Assistants Get Lifted with John Legend

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  • John Legend is the 1st black male voice assistant
  • 46% of Americans use voice assistants

Amazon’s (AMZN -0.09%) Alexa has some new competition in the smart voice assistant race. Grammy Award-winner John Legend joins Google (GOOGL +0.29%) as one of its latest six voice assistants. Will this move empower more black people to start using this feature?

Why This Matters: This legendary move makes him the first male and black voice assistant in an industry that’s overwhelmingly female and white. Google will introduce the feature to all of its devices later this year. The tech giant is inching towards creating a more natural voice assistant that better emulates human speech.

We live in a world where popular media tends to depict black men as threatening, and or aggressive. Providing exposure to a black male voice, who actively provides intelligent information, could have a positive impact on the 46% of Americans using voice assistants. In addition to wider audience representation, 63% of consumers expect to use the technology more frequently in the future.

There are still some critics who argue people tend to use female voice assistants more than male, even when given the option. This only enforces a sexist agenda that conveys women as subservient, thus linking potential problematic outcomes with giving orders to a black man.

What’s Next: Competition in voice is heating up. Amazon owned 62% of the smart speaker market share in 2017. Google is focused lowering its price tiers and market research firm Statista predicts the company will own 34% of the market, thus decreasing Amazon’s stake by 2020. Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL -0.23%) HomePod and Microsoft’s (MSFT +0.34%) Cortana along with other smart assistant make up the remaining 13%.

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