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Though you’ve never met Susan Bennett, you are probably more familiar with her than you think. You may have asked her for directions, what the weather is like, the score to baseball games and even to remind you to pick up dog food.
Bennett has revealed herself the voice of Apple’s original Siri, and in a recent interview with CNN, she dished on, among other things, how she came to be the one to give life to your favorite snarky personal assistant.
Bennett has done voice work for automated systems since the 1970s. Her first job in the biz was as the voice of Tilly the all-time teller, the first ATM machine. She’s also lent her vocals to GPS devices, automated telephone systems and even Delta airlines terminals.
“The Siri voices were recorded in 2005, in the month of July, four hours a day for the whole month,” Bennett told CNN. “When I recorded those voices, I had absolutely no idea where they would end up.”
Software company ScanSoft, which eventually merged with Nuance Communications, approached Bennett about doing some recordings that would be used in a database to construct speech. Nuance is believed to be the company that partnered with Apple to provide the technology behind Siri.
Though Bennett’s thought was that those speech samples would be used in company telephone systems, according to CNN, she first heard her voice as Siri the same time many of us did - after the launch of Apple’s iPhone 4s in 2011.