Inside my iPhone is a cornucopia of Irish men.
“Currently it’s clear and 25 degrees,” Colin Farrell replies when I ask him about the weather.
“The 7:45 alarm is off,” Michael Fassbender says when I plead with him to get some more sleep.
“This is what I found on Google,” Domnhall Gleeson gleefully replies when I yell, “I spilled coffee all over the stove. How to clean the white shirt and the kitchen bench? I feel like he’s denying me, or maybe playing hardball to get it.
Changing Siri’s voice on my iPhone to that of an Irish man has been an exercise in calming me down. The generic American registry disappeared; now I have a generic Irish cadence or, if I suspend my disbelief long enough, the glowing musings of Colin, Michael, Domnhall or Jamie Dornan, Cillian Murphy and Kenneth Branagh.
Niall Horan was (obviously) my favorite One Direction member when I was a boy-band-mad teenager. While everyone was swooning over Paul Mescal and his chain sporting ways last year, I finally felt vindicated. Good old Pauly had been telling me the forecast for years.
Of course, being Irish is not the only virtue of these men. They also have great faces, which you too can conjure up at any time by navigating your phone’s maze of settings. The reward is worth it; With every gentle instruction from your chatty Irish personal, you can feel your cortisol levels drop. (Your doctor may not agree.)
There are more tangible psychological ramifications to be found: A 2019 United Nations study found that female voices in digital assistants like Siri and Alexa were entrenching gender stereotypes. “The speech of most voice assistants… sends a signal that women are accommodating helpers, docile and eager to please,” the study found.
By altering Siri’s voice settings, you’re training your brain to unlearn biases encoded within your subconscious, or so it can tell itself.
No more women making your offer. Just have Ronan Keating do it for him.