There appear to be a lot of CNN readers who thought that meeting the voice actor behind Siri was not newsworthy today but perhaps this is the exact news you should read as a distraction from the government shutdown. For me this was the perfect read on a snowy morning in Denver.
Computer technology is pretty amazing. Siri is an example of Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, and is a fascinating example of how the voice acting business works. The human behind Siri is Susan Bennett, who has been voice acting since the 1970s. She didn’t have any idea she was going to be Siri and she recorded all of the voice elements in 2005. Imagine waking up one day to become one of the most popular personal assistant computer voices in the world.
The really interesting piece of this story is a video created by the Verge about the process behind IVR and that is what you should check out today. It is beautifully shot and full of interesting information.
Is it possible to prove that Bennett is Siri? All evidence points towards it but what sealed the deal more me is the analysis performed by Ed Primeau of Rochester Hills, MI. I have always been an audio forensics enthusiast and I even took an graduate audio forensics course at the University of Colorado Denver, and when an expert such as Ed says he is 100% certain then you can count on it.
“I believe, and I’ve lived this for 30 years, no two voices are the same,” he said, after finishing his analysis of the Siri voice and Bennett’s. “They are identical — a 100% match.”
Now you’ll know when the terminators take over how they stole our voices. I almost wish Bennett had stayed behind the magic curtain because Siri has always had her own mysteries, but understanding the IVR process is truly fascinating.