When Susan Bennett, a voice actress from the suburbs of Atlanta, first heard Siri on Apple’s website, she says it was “a little creepy.”
It was her voice, or so she and a number of her peers tell CNN’s Jessica Ravitz.
“I’m used to hearing my voice in the airport but this real thing you can interact with in your hand took some time for me to get used to,” says Bennett.
Bennett says she spent four hours in the recording studio every day during the month of July, 2005. She wasn’t sure what her voice would be used for. Her past recordings have been used in GPS devices, loudspeaker announcements and phone messages. She was also First National Bank’s ATM voice, Tillie The All Time Teller.
While Apple didn’t confirm Bennett’s participation to CNN, legal authorities on behalf of Bennett say it’s true. Also, an audio forensics expert with 30 years of experience told CNN with 100% confidence that the voices of Siri and Bennett matched.
Apple wouldn’t have been the company that hired Bennett anyway. Siri was founded by SRI International, then it was spun out in 2007. Apple acquired Siri in 2010, long after Bennett says her voice was recorded.
Here’s how Bennett fell into the role of Siri. From CNN:
ScanSoft, a software company, was looking for a voice for a new project. It reached out to GM Voices, a suburban Atlanta company that had established a niche recording voices for automated voice technologies. Bennett, a trusted talent who had done lots of work with GM Voices, was one of the options presented. ScanSoft liked what it heard, and in June 2005 Bennett signed a contract offering her voice for recordings that would be used in a database to construct speech…These snippets were then synthesized in a process called concatenation that builds words, sentences, paragraphs. And that is how voices like hers find their way into GPS and telephone systems.
Have a listen and decide for yourself. Bennett sounds eerily similar to your iPhone.
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