I recently wrote an article for MIT Technology Review about TikTok’s decision to suddenly change the voice used for the “automatic” voiceover feature. This appeared to be due in part to a lawsuit brought against ByteDance, their parent company, by the voice actor who had–unbeknownst to her–provided the voice that ByteDance decided to use on TikTok.
The interesting thing about this change is it’s not the only time a woman’s voice has been used for a multibillion dollar company’s product without due credit, or the voice actor even being aware. This dovetails in an interesting–and illuminating–fashion with the way so many Silicon Valley corporations have recently seemed unable to listen to women’s voices when the call is coming from inside the building, so to speak. In other words, using women’s voices and reaping value from them as a commodity, versus valuing what women have to say, are two very different things. You can read the full article here.
If you’re interested in learning more about the historical background to this kind of gendered dynamic, I was recently on the Tech Won’t Save Us Podcast talking about my research with host Paris Marx. Take a listen on the pod app of your choice or in your web browser here.