If you ask Alexa powered Echo if ‘she’s a woman’, it’ll respond with, “I’m female in character”. And if you ask Alexa that who inspires it, then you’ll hear the names of 15 women — all well-established in their respective fields.
Alexa claims to be a Feminist.
Although there is a need to introduce more male voices into smart assistants, but that’s a discussion for another time perhaps. Right now let’s check out which females inspire one of our favourite smart assistants.
They Inspired Alexa
Ada Lovelace: Mathematician and programmer in the early 19th century. She wrote the first program for Charles Babbage’s proposed computer.
Marie Curie: Physicist and chemist who introduced new ideas and methods towards research related to Radioactivity.
Simone Biles: An artistic gymnast who won multiple honours in the 2016 Rio Olympics at a young age of 19.
Malala Yousafzai: Activist for women rights. Youngest ever Nobel-prize winner.
Jane McGonigal: Game designer and author who is also making efforts to propagate the digital world to be a platform for goodness and harmony.
Katherine G. Johnson: Mathematician and Physicist who made contributions to NASA’s digital computing technology in its infancy.
Dorothy Vaughan: Mathematician who worked with NASA during the launch of their first satellites into space.
Mary Jackson: Mathematician and Aeronautics engineer at NASA. Katherine, Dorothy and Mary belonged to the African-American community and are considered early examples of success for people of the community, especially women.
Melinda Gates: Philanthropist and co-Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation which supports causes related to education, health and population worldwide.
Jane Goodall: Primatologist, Anthropologist, Ethologist and the UN Messenger of Peace.
Serena Williams: 23-times Lawn Tennis Grand Slam winner.
Hedy Lamarr: Actress who later turned into a pioneer in wireless communications. Her invention has led to the modern day advancements in telecommunications and all things wireless.
Alexa Canady: The first Neurosurgeon from the African-American community.
Grace Hopper: Computer programmer who invented the first compiler for a programming language and rear Admiral of the US Navy.
Sally Ride: Physicist and the first female astronaut to go into space in 1983.
Although the company claims that only a few of these were added to Alexa’s inspiration list a few weeks before Women’s Day (March 8), a majority of them are said to be present in Alexa’s database for more than a year.
So, if you had asked Alexa about its inspirations last year, you would probably have heard fewer names.