Amazon introduces Alexa’s new assistant Ziggy

For a very long time now AI-powered smart voice command assistants have been using female voices by default. Since the advent of digital assistants from the year the 2010s, Siri, Alexa, and Cortana all have been powered by female voices. However, Amazon has introduced the brand new male-powered assistant in Ziggy, an alternative to Alexa. Users of Amazon smart speakers can choose between Ziggy and Alexa as their preferred voice command however this new release is only available now in the USA and a global rollout of this new feature will be released in the near future.

Users can simply now ask Alexa to “change your voice” or simply go to the Alexa Settings mobile app to hear the change to the male voice of Ziggy. Find out the step-by-step instructions later in the article. Amazon has been rather late to this bring about this change as its rivals Apple and Google have already introduced multiple voice assistants to their devices Siri and Google Assistant. Ziggy joins a host of wake words that your devices already respond which are “Echo”, “Computer”, “Alexa”, and “Amazon”. Interestingly, Amazon refers to Alexa as not “a person with a physical body or a gender identity” but frequent documentation of Amazon refers to Alexa as a “she” and “her”.

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Added voices of two celebrity superstars

Likewise this month, Amazon uncovered two superstar voices – former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal and entertainer Melissa McCarthy. Users can choose which voice they want to hear. They can hear pre-recorded messages by saying ‘Hello Shaq’ or ‘Hello Melissa,’. The downside is the capability of them answering questions is limited in nature. They can answer the daily updates such as what is the weather like outside.  Amazon confirmed Alexa is now equipped with data for the Tokoyo 2020 Olympic Games. They started on Friday the 23rd of July 2021. Customers of Alexa devices can now ask any relevant question pertaining to the Games for example, “Alexa, which nation has the most gold medals?” and customers get prompt answers.

Step by step instructions to change your wake word for your mobile application

  1. Open the Alexa mobile application the latest updated version
  2. Click on devices and select the device you want to change
  3. Under the section settings click on General
  4. Select Wake word from the list of the words
  5. Choose Ziggy wake word as your preferred option
  6. Confirm your wake word and start enjoying your new male companion assistant.

Steps to change the voice of your Echo device to Ziggy

As already mentioned earlier, the simple way would be just to shout out: “Alexa, change your voice.” The new voice will be confirmed across all your Echo devices. The changing of voices for the Alexa mobile application requires a few extra steps which are as follows:

  1. Notice the new option under device settings called Alexa’s voice
  2. Option one is the “Original” Alexa voice which is the female voice and the second option is the “New”, the newly- introduced male virtual assistant
  3. Select “New” and confirm your changes.

Although Amazon has been late in introducing the new male voice feature for its devices than its rivals, Apple and Google, the company has saved itself from a lot of flak from gender activists who believe big tech is stereotyping virtual assistants with female voices.

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