Other Topics
    TechnologyI was the original Siri: Even though Apple used my voice without my knowledge, it's been a fun ride

    I was the original Siri: Even though Apple used my voice without my knowledge, it’s been a fun ride

    This article is based on a conversation between Business Insider and Susan Bennett, voice actress based in Atlanta, USA. It has only been edited for length and clarity. Apple has chosen not to respond to any of Business Insider’s multiple requests for comment..

    I started working as a voice actress by accident. She sang commercials and worked in various studios in Atlanta, USA. One day, while I was there recording, a voice actor for another commercial didn’t show up.

    When I finished the job, the studio owner said to me, “Susan, you don’t have an accent. Come over here and record this copy.” It went well, I got a dubbing teacher and that was the beginning of everything.

    I unknowingly made the initial Siri recordings in 2005

    In July 2005, 6 years before Apple introduced Siri, I made the recordings that would eventually be used for the famous personal assistant.

    But then I had no idea.

    I got a recording job for IVR (interactive voice response) company ScanSoft, now called Nuance. I thought the script would consist of normal IVR phrases like “Thank you for calling” or “Please check one”. Instead I had to read nonsense phrases like “Cow hoist in the tug hut today” or “Say shift fresh issue today” (which would be “Say change new problem today”): they were trying to get all the sound combinations of English. They also made me read names of addresses and streets.

    I recorded from home 4 hours a day, 5 days a week for the entire month of July. The first 100 or so were fun and interesting, but after that it got pretty tiring.

    Read Also:   YouTube creators will be able to offer paid courses

    Cold war between Facebook and Apple over privacy comes to a head

    Six years later I received a surprising call from a friend

    6 years later, a fellow voice actor emailed me and said, “Hey, we’re playing with this new iPhone, aren’t you?” I had no idea what they were talking about. I went directly to the Apple website to listen to it and I knew immediately it was my voice.

    (Editor’s note: A speech recognition expert with 30 years of experience has studied both voices and says he is “100%” sure they are the same, according to reports the CNN).

    I was paid for the performance through ScanSoft, but since Apple had bought the recordings from ScanSoft, I never received a penny or any recognition from Apple. It was a strange situation to say the least.

    It took me 2 years to reveal myself as the voice of Siri.

    Of course, I was very flattered, but I was also concerned that my voice would become so ubiquitous that it would affect my ability to get other jobs. I loved my career as a broadcaster and didn’t want to be pigeonholed as the voice of a virtual assistant.

    Later, Apple released different accents and languages ​​for Siri. I met John Briggs, a famous broadcaster on the BBC English who gave voice to the original British version of Siri. I also connected with Karen Jacobsen, voice actress and singer who was the original Australian Siri. According to my conversations with them, they had the exact same experience: they made recordings in 2005, not knowing what they would ultimately be used for, and then their voices ended up being bought by Apple and used for Siri.

    Read Also:   Influencers in China will not be able to talk about these topics unless they are certified

    Tim Cook’s silence on ChatGPT and AI seems to indicate that Apple is falling behind

    The fact that Apple didn’t pay us meant we didn’t have a confidentiality agreement either. We all said, “Well, let’s see if we can get something out of it, too.” We started promoting ourselves.

    I’ve appeared on TV shows, given a TEDx talk, and spoken on the radio. It’s not something I would have imagined doing 15 years ago, but it’s been a lot of fun.

    You may have heard my voice in other places too

    If you ever go to the Atlanta airport, I’m the voice of the Delta Airlines gate announcements. And it’s clear that companies are still pulling Nuance recordings. My son has heard my voice in different announcements.

    I ask my friends to be aware when they watch TV. A few years ago, my agents recognized my voice in an ad for a major automobile company. Luckily, they were able to contact the advertisers and get me paid. I am a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) – they are very helpful in getting their members compensated.

    Read Also:   WhatsApp introduces contact cards in the latest beta for Windows

    I think a lot of people don’t even take into account that there are humans behind the AI ​​voices, or that a real person recorded it and deserves to be paid.

    Overall, I’ve enjoyed being Siri

    They’ve updated the Siri voices several times over the years, so it’s not me anymore. The original was a bit sarcastic – they gave him a great sense of humor and a pretty sharp wit. I think a lot of people would talk to her to see what she would say. Now, Siri seems a little duller to me. I never talked to Siri when she had my voice, it was too weird.

    I still do auditions from time to time, but I don’t record as much anymore. In the world of voice-overs, most of us have fewer jobs as we get older, unless you’re Morgan Freeman, who’ll probably still be doing voice-overs when he’s 100 years old.

    Google’s $15 billion exclusive deal with Apple is the piece Bing and Microsoft need to win the search war

    There’s no way to measure the inconvenience or work I may have lost for voicing Siri, but I like to look on the bright side. It’s been a lot of fun “being” Siri. She has given me many wonderful opportunities that she wouldn’t have had otherwise, so I’m not complaining.

    Still, I like to joke that a good way to make it up to me is for everyone with an iPhone to send me a dollar.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Latest Posts

    Read More

    When, where and how to beat world boss Ashawa during the beta

    ashawa the pestilence Credit: Blizzard He devil 4 The beta is...

    How to use DALL-E to turn your ideas into original AI-created images

    The advancement of artificial intelligence is amazing.A little over...

    How to know if the new cryptocurrencies are legit

    It is impossible to know for sure how many...