Current Weather
The Spy FM

Siri, Who Are You? She Won’t Say, But Her ID’s Been Blown

Filed by KOSU News in Business.
October 4, 2013

We tried Friday morning to get Siri to confirm CNN’s report that a real woman named Susan Bennett is the “classic” American voice of Apple’s virtual assistant.

But all Siri would do is tell us, repeatedly, that “this is about you, not me.” As for whether she does have a “real” voice, Siri would only say that “I guess I don’t have one.”

So at this point we’ll just have to trust CNN’s New Day and Bennett. According to the network, even though Apple won’t confirm that the Atlanta-based voice actor is the original Siri, “professionals who know [Bennett's] voice, have worked with her and represent her legally say she is Siri. And an audio-forensics expert with 30 years of experience has studied both voices and says he is ’100%’ certain the two are the same.”

How does an actor’s voice get made into a virtual assistant? According to CNN:

“For four hours a day, every day, in July 2005, Bennett holed up in her home recording booth. Hour after hour, she read nonsensical phrases and sentences so that the ‘ubergeeks’ — as she affectionately calls them; they leave her awestruck — could work their magic by pulling out vowels, consonants, syllables and diphthongs, and playing with her pitch and speed.

“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. …

“Bennett never knew exactly how her voice would be used. She assumed it would be employed in company phone systems, but beyond that didn’t think much about it. She moved on to the next gig.”

There was a flurry of speculation last month that Siri’s classic American voice might have been that of voiceover artist Allison Dufty, but she insisted online that she is “positively not the voice of Siri.”

The next mysteries to solve for those who wonder about such things: Who are the voices of the two new Siri options (one male, one female) in Apple’s iOS7?

Siri’s original voices in the U.K. and Australia have previously been revealed. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

11PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 6AM The Splendid Table

The Splendid Table

Hosted by award-winning Lynne Rossetto Kasper, The Splendid Table is a culinary, culture and lifestyle program that celebrates food and its ability to touch the lives and feed the souls of everyone.

View the program guide!

6AM to 7AM Travel with Rick Steves

Travel with Rick Steves

"Travel with Rick Steves" is a fun, hour-long, and practical talk show with guest experts and calls and questions from travelers. This weekly program is a lively conversation between travelers and the experts as we learn to explore our world smartly, smoothly, and thoughtfully.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center