Woman Behind Siri’s Voice Revealed

She looks up directions, phone numbers, restaurants and answers some of your most mundane questions, a faceless techno-helpmate responding from your iPhone.

Now, the woman who is the original voice behind Apple’s Siri has been revealed.

Photo source: People.com
Photo source: People.com

Susan Bennett, a suburban Atlanta voiceover talent, laid down the voice tracks about eight years ago, not knowing that they would one day be used for Apple’s voice-activated virtual assistant, named Siri, CNN reports.

But when the pioneering technology company introduced its iPhone 4S model in October 2011, friends reached out to Bennett to query if indeed that wasn’t her voice.

Bennett, who has done loads of voice-recording work since the 1970s, wrestled for a long time before revealing her Siri identity, uncertain about the attention it would bring. But other Siris in Australia and the U.K. have stepped up to divulge that it’s their voices, so Bennett decided to also come clean about her historic role in mobile phone technology.

Her decision to out herself was helped along last month when a tech news site, The Verge, posted a video featuring a voice that some thought was Siri. But it was the work of voiceover artist Allison Dufty. On her own website, Dufty later said a “Siri-ous mistake” had been made.

That, Bennett told CNN, was the moment she decided to come forward.

“I really had to weigh the importance of it for me personally,” she said. “I wasn’t sure I wanted the notoriety and I also wasn’t sure where I stood legally. And so, consequently, I was very conservative about it for a long time.”

Although Apple would not confirm Bennett as Siri, CNN voice experts analyzed the recordings and confirmed she is indeed a likely match.

Some have suggested that the Siri voice has a bit of sass. Bennett said the hint of “attitude” phone users pick up on came from her reading nonsense phrases for up to four hours at a time, a bit taxing.

“There are people who can read hour upon hour and it’s not a problem. For me I get extremely bored,” she said of the inflections. “Those sounds might have been recorded the last 15 minutes of those four hours.”

Alas, Bennett’s reign as Siri is coming to an end. Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS 7, features new Siri voices, according to CNN.

Source: People.com

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