Apple’s Siri is human after all

November 11, 2011

Apple’s digital “personal assistant” Siri suddenly has become all too human.
The much-touted voice-recognition technology dubbed “Siri” has captured Apple fans’ imagination ever since it was launched as an integral feature of the new iPhone 4S.
The voice software, which drew glowing reviews, lets users hold a conversation with their iPhone, manages calendar appointments, finds restaurants and makes inquiries about the weather.
Now, the voice behind Siri — atleast the British voice — has come forward.
Jon Briggs, a former technology journalist and voice-over artist  work, recorded his voice as “Daniel” for a company called Scansoft, which merged with Nuance, the firm that works with Apple on voice software, according to The Telegraph.
“I did a set of recordings with Scansoft five or six years ago, for text-to-speech services,” says Briggs in The Telegraph in an interview. “Five thousand sentences over three weeks, spoken in a very particular way and only reading flat and even. Then they go away and take all the phonics apart, because I have to be able to read anything you want, even if I’ve never actually recorded all those words.”
One interesting feature of Siri is that the voice toggles between male and female, depending on the country.
Siri is female in the United States, Australia and Germany. A male voice greets you in the U.K. and France. There is no option to change according to personal preference.
And hence, that begs the question on the type of data points Apple must have used to decide the gender of Siri in a a particular country.
As usual, the folks at Apple are not telling.

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