World

Nobel Laureate faces public ire for making sexist comment

23 Jun 2017 | By Anish Chakraborty
Nobel Laureate says it was in good humour

Always think before you speak and if you are a Nobel Laureate, think more than twice or risk public ire.

This is exactly what happened when a Nobel laureate candidly mentioned at a Norway conference, he likes his iPhone's virtual assistant Siri to be male because it makes him feel that it's more trustworthy.

Here's all you need to know about what happened next.

In context: Nobel Laureate says it was in good humour

23 Jun 2017Nobel Laureate faces public ire for making sexist comment

SiriWhat actually happened

Sir Christopher Pissarides took out his iPhone in the middle of a Q&A session with the audience regarding the future of humanity and asked Siri about the temperature.

When Larry King, who was acting as the moderator, pointed out that Siri's voice was male instead of the usual female voice it prompted quite an unexpected reply from the Nobel Laureate.

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Damning words, to say the least

GenderDamning words, to say the least

The voice of Siri is predominantly female in the United States but Sir Christopher Pissarides had changed it; the reason being, "I chose a man because you trust the voice of a man more, I was told."

Pissarides should rethink whom he listens to as the comment was considered to be extremely sexist, not only by the conference audience but also by Twitteratti.

ApologyPissarides tries to do damage control

He later defended himself saying that the statement was made in a much lighter vein than perceived, "After I demonstrated Siri, the audience was laughing, I was being teased."

He clarified saying, he had said it candidly and when the women present raised the issue, he apologized; moreover, he had given a lecture earlier where he discussed two policies that were pro-women in nature.

EqualityWhere the issue stands now

Pissarides remarked, for the last 40 years, his work has been dedicated to equality in the labor market and when people ask him what's the biggest problem plaguing the labor market, he has always said that it's the lack of equality between men, women, and races.

The organizers said, they regretted the sexist comment made by Chris and accepted the outrage that it's sparked.