Siri unmasked: Atlanta woman claims to be voice behind Apple assistant
Published Friday, October 4, 2013 10:46AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 4, 2013 3:34PM EDT
Siri, Apple's virtual voice assistant, may have finally found her true voice.
In an interview with CNN, Susan Bennett, a voice actor from suburban Atlanta, claims to be the voice that has helped millions of iPhone users schedule appointments, set alarms and field a number of strange questions.
"Siri, would you like to be interviewed by CNN?" asks Bennett to her iPhone, in a video clip posted on CNN's website.
"This is about you, Susan, not me," Siri replies in a calm but somewhat annoyed voice.
Siri was first introduced with the launch of the iPhone 4S in October 2011. Apple has not confirmed the reveal, but CNN cites an audio-forensic expert who compared Bennett’s voice to Siri's.
"They are identical – a 100 per cent match," said Ed Primeau, who has testified in courts and says he has analyzed hundreds "if not thousands" of recordings.
Asked about the reason for Siri’s sometimes snippy attitude, Bennett says that might have to do with how she schedules her recording sessions.
"There are some (voice actors) that just can read hour upon hour upon hour, and it’s not a problem. For me, I get extremely bored," explains Bennett.
"So I just take breaks. That’s one of the reasons why Siri might sometimes sound like she has a bit of an attitude. Those sounds might have been recorded the last 15 minutes of those four hours."
According to the CNN interview, the story behind Siri’s voice started in 2005, when Bennett was asked by ScanSoft, a software company, to work on a new project. For four hours every day in July, Bennett said she read nonsensical phrases in her home-recording booth.
Bennett, however, didn’t know that her voice would later become that of Siri’s.
She said a colleague emailed her after the introduction of the new iPhone, asking her if she was the voice behind the new technology.
Bennett, who didn’t own an iPhone at the time, said she went to the Apple site and listened to video clips of Siri's voice.
"Oh, I knew," said Bennett. "It’s obviously me. It's my voice."