Neil DeGrasse Tyson Assailed for Not Scolding Nobel Laureate Over Sexist Siri Remark

  1. Home
  2. Culture Wars
By Ian Miles Cheong | 6:18 am, June 25, 2017
Read More

Renowned science personality Neil DeGrasse Tyson may not be as progressive as he seems.

Earlier this week, Nobel-prize winning economist Sir Christopher Pissarides made the contentious claim that Apple’s virtual assistant Siri sounded “more trustworthy” with a male voice than a female one. Tyson, a fellow panelist at the Starmus Festival in Norway, came under fire for not speaking up on the matter.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson

At the “World on Fire” panel, Sir Christopher can be seen awkwardly fumbling with an iPhone by holding it up to his ear to listen to Siri’s response after asking it about the weather. When TV host Larry King pointed out to him that Siri had a woman’s voice by default in the U.S., Pissarides said: “I chose a man, because you trust the voice of a man more I was told.”

Pissarides received jeers from the audience and was immediately raked over the coals on social media over his comments, which he made during the Q&A session. It was streamed to Twitter.

Dr. Jill Tarter, who attended the lecture, admonished Pissarides. “I’m wondering why after a beautiful, inspiring lecture by Jeffrey Sachs this morning, about why we have to solve our problems globally, everyone needs to be in the game—why a very wise, knighted, noble laureate found two opportunities on the stage of this conference to piss off half the world’s population. And Neil, you didn’t jump on it.”

“It’s a gender issue,” she said.

As International Business Times notes, other attendees were equally turned off and said they walked out of Starmus. Astrobiologist Sara Seager said she is “Trying to book the next flight out.”

At this point, the whole point of the panel has been overshadowed by an ill-conceived remark, as liberal scientists become more and more immersed in politicizing their fields instead of pursuing scientific endeavors.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.