Female voices impact + more news

13 minutes estimated reading time

Pinay female voices power

The Philippines’ secret weapon against Chinese incursions | The Economist – having women radio operators seem to be more successful and less likely to rise tensions, seems to be down to training and the nature of female voices. It reminded me of how early HCI experiments by DARPA found that jet fighter pilots responded best to ‘mature’ female voices on warning alerts. An interesting aside is that the radio altimeter on Airbus aircraft actually use an English mature male voice instead.

Academic research gives us an idea of what kind of female voices are likely to be more effective. Maybe this authority is conveyed by the female radio operator training and the female voices selected by the Coastguard?

Women with masculine voice are perceived to be more rational and persuasive than those with feminine voice. In addition, masculine voice is rated as more competent than feminine voice, regardless of the actual gender 

It’s not What It Speaks, but It’s How It Speaks: A Study into Smartphone Voice-User Interfaces (VUI) by Jaeyeol Jeong & Dong-Hee Shin of Department of Interaction ScienceSungkyunkwan University, Seoul,Korea (2015)

Other research suggested that a preference for female voices occurred over time, this might be due to technological change in voices. The heavily synthesised ‘Speak n Spell’ type voices were male, better technology allowed for great choices and detail in female voices to be conveyed.

…the survey found that people preferred human-like, happy, empathetic voices with higher pitches. However, these preferences were not static; for instance, user preference for voice gender changed over time from masculine voices to more feminine ones. Based on these findings, the researchers were able to formulate a high-level framework to classify different types of interactions across various computer-based technologies

The role of computer voice in the future of speech-based human-computer interaction – Tokyo Institute of Technology

Other research that it is attitude rather than a female voice that matters. Which begs the question is it compliance to the radio operator training rather than a female voice that is more important in this context? Filipino culture has a certain amount of machismo and having female voices delivering the radio instructions might be a way around this dilemma.

introvert participants rated the introvert computer voice as more attractive, credible, and informative, while the extrovert participants rated the extrovert voice more highly. Expanding on these findings, it was found that the personality conveyed by the voice was the dominant percept

Voice as a design material : sociophonetic inspired design strategies in Human-Computer Interaction by Selina Sutton, Paul Foulkes and David Kirk of the University of York presented at CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Proceedings (CHI 2019). (PDF)

The use of female voices in this way could be accused of playing to sexist tropes


Another day, another reminder of how Brand China has deteriorated – Fawning and complacent, the West has eased China’s path to power | The Sunday Times – while the statement is true, it also shows how much the tone has changed towards China amongst UK political elites

China goes on the defensive as Covid vaccine diplomacy backfires | The Times – Beijing’s hopes of winning favour by helping the world’s poorer nations out of the pandemic have been hamstrung by questions over the efficacy of the jabs on offer

Alleged assault on scientists overshadows China’s space race success | Financial Times – Police detained Zhang Tao, chair and party secretary at China Aerospace Investment Holdings, for his alleged attacks on Wu Meirong and Wang Jinnian last month, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday. Wang and Wu had refused to recommend Zhang for membership of the International Academy of Astronautics, a Stockholm-based group that recognises distinguished scientists

For China’s Business Elites, Staying Out of Politics Is No Longer an Option – The New York TimesThe Chinese internet immediately savaged Didi and Ms. Liu — and then Mr. Liu. A hashtag, #Didiapppulledfromappstores, which was started by the official People’s Daily, was viewed more than one billion times over a 24-hour period on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. Weibo users called Didi a “traitor” and a “walking dog of the United States.” They urged the government to also punish Mr. Liu for selling out national interests

Underground front: the Chinese Communist Party in Hong KongContinuing to operate secretly in Hong Kong can only cause unnecessary discomfort. Hong Kong people already accept the CCP’s undoubted authority in leading the affairs of state. While the party appreciates that Hong Kong needs to function differently from the mainland, its basic instincts, which are Leninist in nature, make it difficult for the party apparatus not to over- extend its reach into the city’s public affairs. The sharpest point of departure between the party’s way and Hong Kong’s way arises from their different governing experience. (PDF)

Consumer behaviour

Japanese fax fans rally to defence of much-maligned machine | Japan | The GuardianMembers of the resistance said there were concerns over the security of sensitive information and “anxiety over the communication environment” if, as the government had requested, they switched exclusively to email. Japanese ministries and agencies use faxes when handling highly confidential information, including court procedures and police work, and the Hokkaido Shimbun said there were fears that exclusively online communication would result in security lapses

Patriotism Abroad: Overseas Chinese Students’ Encounters With Criticisms of China – Henry Chiu Hail, 2015research on international education suggests that host country students’ lack of interest in talking to international students is a major cause of international student segregation. Some Chinese international students, however, complain that although host students want to talk with them about China, they often exhibit misinformed, prejudiced and offensive views of Chinese current events. This has occasionally led to tensions between Chinese international students and host communities. Drawing on interviews and open-ended surveys of Chinese students at an American university, this study shows a variety of positive and negative cross-national interactions and uses social identity theory to explain why tensions may arise. Negative reactions to hearing criticism of one’s home country are often motivated by concerns for status, loyalty, harmony, or utilitarian politics. However, fostering a common group identity and the perception of mutual benevolence among students from different countries can promote positive cross-national interaction. Furthermore, international students may learn more about democracy and human rights through observing the host society rather than directly discussing these topics with host country members – basically the delta between western perceptions of China, versus domestic Chinese propaganda is going to drive that wedge deeper. Universities have Chinese students purely for the money as there is minimal wider benefit to their domestic student body. Which begs wider questions about the purpose and morality of many western third level education institutions


Trese: the true crime and folklore behind Netflix’s… – The Face – it reminded me of the animated Blade series and Ghost in The Shell. The Philippines could be an anime powerhouse


China’s Big Tech Crackdown Puts Dozens of U.S. IPOs at Risk – Bloomberg“The Chinese government could have stopped the IPOs from happening, like how they did with Ant,” said Sharif Farha, a Dubai-based portfolio manager at Safehouse Global Consumer Fund. “Instead, they allowed global investors to take pain, and consequently have broken trust with a lot of foreign investors. While we did not participate in any of these listings, we would imagine that several funds would consider exiting.” – it makes the Goldman Sachs ICBC deal look even more sketchy

China Mulls Closing Loophole Tech Giants Use for U.S. IPOs – Bloomberg – on one hand I get it. Mainland Chinese are creating bubbles in areas like property and have poor returns because they don’t have stocks or ETFs that they can invest in. On the other hand this burns early stage foreign investors to the ground as they can no longer exit their money from China.

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little VIEs | Financial Times – not terribly surprising. VIEs are the vehicle that Chinese companies use to go public abroad

Chinese companies listing in the U.S. like DiDi face audit concerns – Protocol – basically you don’t know what you’re buying

UK advertising watchdog to crack down on misleading crypto marketing | Financial Times

Hong Kong

Vitasoy faces boycott in mainland China following stabbing in HK | PR | Campaign AsiaFollowing the incident, an undated internal memo was circulated among Vitasoy employees expressing condolences to Leung’s family. A translated version of the memo, which leaked onto Chinese social media, mentions that “human resources has contacted [Leung’s] family and will follow up and provide assistance when needed.” The internal memo proved controversial, as Chinese social media users accused the brand of condoning violence and defending anti-China sentiments. – the red guard are already here. This wasn’t an endorsement of his act, but sympathy with the loss and grief that his parents must be feeling as they try and make sense of his actions.

Crypto Keepers’ NFT-Backed Drama Series Hatched by AMM Global – Variety – the production company spun out of Hong Kong’s Asia Television – a former free to air TV station. Meanwhile in the UK, I heard that a production company is looking for people how have lost the password to their cryptocurrency wallet.


If you hate the culture wars, blame liberals – Kevin Drum ….Over the last four years, white liberals have become a larger and larger share of the Democratic Party….And since white voters are sorting on ideology more than nonwhite voters, we’ve ended up in a situation where white liberals are more left wing than Black and Hispanic Democrats on pretty much every issue: taxes, health care, policing, and even on racial issues or various measures of “racial resentment.” So as white liberals increasingly define the party’s image and messaging, that’s going to turn off nonwhite conservative Democrats and push them against us. 

….If Democrats elevate issues or theories that a large minority of nonwhite voters reject, it’s going to be hard to keep those margins….Black conservatives and Hispanic conservatives don’t actually buy into a lot of these intellectual theories of racism. They often have a very different conception of how to help the Black or Hispanic community than liberals do – well worth a more in-depth read

Culture Wars are Long Wars – The Scholar’s StageDemocrats under 40 take socialism very seriously. The Great Recession was their formative event; the old orthodoxy did not seem equal to the fear and heartache it caused. Thus, gradually, the younger cohorts have been won over to the socialist cause.5 All that keeps the socialists at bay is the power of their elders. That power cannot last. At some point in the next decade the transition point will arrive. Gradually will become suddenly, and America’s most popular party will be openly run by socialists – I don’t agree with a lot of the post, but it provides an interesting prespective

Bristol Unpacked on whether white working class people are shut out of the equality debate, with Hartcliffe’s award winning filmmaker Paul Holbrook – The Bristol Cable – far too short a discussion session as podcast, it felt like they were just scratching the surface with this recording

Erik Prince Had Pitched $10 Billion Private Army in Ukraine: Time – everything he does seems like it’s taken from the plot from William Gibson’s sprawl trilogy


Institute for New Economic Thinking | How Intel finkncialised and lost its leadership in semiconductor technologyThe root of Intel’s failure in organizational integration lies in the financialized character of a third social condition of innovative enterprise, strategic control. Accepting stock yield as the measure of enterprise performance, in recent years Intel’s senior executives who exercise strategic control have lacked both the incentive and, increasingly we would argue, the ability, to implement innovative investment strategies through organizational integration. 

Executive stock-based pay, in the form of stock options and stock awards, has created incentives for Intel’s CEOs to do large-scale buybacks to give manipulative boosts to the company’s stock price. Table 3 documents the total compensation, including realized gains from stock options and stock awards, of Intel’s CEOs over the past three decades


Irish Times under fire for page of China propaganda | Ireland | The Sunday TimesThe newspaper, whose rate card sets a full-page colour ad at €34,000, ran the paid-for-content on page five of its news section under an “advertisement” heading last Thursday. The accompanying article by He Xiangdong, the Chinese ambassador, claimed the CCP enjoyed “solid” support from its people, and highlighted China’s vastly improved standards of living in recent decades – propaganda from draconian empires doesn’t go down that well in Ireland


Supreme Italia Founders Sentences to Jail in Court | High Snobriety – this has been running for a long time. The key challenge was that they were headquartered in the UK. They could have got around this by being headquartered in a market that allows first registration as legitimacy for brands. More related content here.


Duterte’s Pivot to China Yet to Deliver Promised Billions in Infrastructure – Bloomberg – from a Chinese communist perspective, why should they? They aren’t that good at being good to their word. Secondly, they are likely to view the Duterte regime as a vassal state and are getting everything they want out of the Philippines anyway


Update Regarding VSA Security Incident | Kaseya – over 1,500 companies affected

Code in huge ransomware attack written to avoid computers that use Russian, says new report – which begs the following questions / hypotheses? Are they in cahoots with Russian government? Was it that they didn’t want their own lives disrupted? Or are they petrified of the Russian security services coming after them, but relatively sanguine about foreign security services and law enforcement


The AI Wolf that Refuses to Play the Game Goes Viral – Google Docs – surely an issue of game design in terms of the way behaviours were rewarded and penalised rather than machine learning?

The Tech Cold War’s ‘Most Complicated Machine’ That’s Out of China’s Reach – The New York Times – a great profile of ASML

Musk has ‘mesmerised’ UK over electric power, says JCB chair | Financial Times – there’s a lot not to like about Lord Anthony Bamford, but I agree with him on this. Companies like BMW managed to extend this to cars. Bamford should be pitching this where there are hydrogen power plans like ireland