My wife is really good at identifying voices. During every animated movie and TV commercial we watch, she lords it over me. “Do you know who that is?” It’s maddening, because I always recognize the voice, but not the identity. It’s like the itch of a lost limb. I know it, but when I try to grasp it, it’s just not there. So I acquiesce. But not even my wife could have guessed this one.
It’s a slow news day around CNN. There’s not a whole lot happening around the country these days (with the exception of the Government shutdown, the looming default on our national debt, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the shuttering of the Silk Road website and subsequent arrest of it’s mastermind the Dread Pirate Roberts), so luckily, a golden goose apparently stopped by the studios and laid an egg right on the editor-in-chief’s desk: The voice behind Siri has been unmasked!
I thought it was a computer voice. A software simulation of a real human voice, if you will. Turns out, not so. It’s a real voice that was recorded over a month’s worth of (probably grueling) VO sessions with a professional voiceover actor, that gets pieced together by some kind of AI within the iPhone.
If I cared, I would say that this on par with learning the secret identity of Batman (“A billionaire?! Are you @$%&*ing kidding me?!”), or that there is no Santa (“You see that man over there? That’s Santa. There IS no Santa.”). But I don’t. My phone doesn’t talk to me, so I haven’t developed a relationship with it. In fact, I was supposed to meet an old friend for coffee this morning, but she had sent me a text at 6:30am informing me she couldn’t make it. I didn’t get the text until 8:30, so I’m a little down on technology at the moment.
But I’m sure that if Siri were here, she would have electronically generated words of comfort.
In the 1920s, a company called Burma Shave — producers of brushless shaving cream — started putting signs up that delighted and educated drivers. These