Meet the American ‘Siri’

She helps you get to meetings on time, tells you what the weather is like outside, and the best restaurant to go to for dinner.

And until now, her identity has remained a mystery. But the voice behind the American Siri, Apple’s first voice-activated “virtual assistant”, has finally been revealed, reports CNN.

Her name is Susan Bennett. She’s a voiceover artist from suburban Atlanta who’s been working in the industry since the 1970s.

Bennett (who refuses to name her age) fell into voice work by accident, but is now heard all over the world. She speaks in countless commercials and on phone systems. She spells out directions from GPS devices and addresses travellers in Delta airport terminals.

In July 2005, she spent four hours every day laying down audio for a client in her home recording booth. She read out hundreds of nonsensical phrases, words and sentences for the mysterious “ubergeeks”. Back then, this was just another recording job. Siri was six years away from being invented so she had no clue about how the words would be used. Little did she know they would be spoken to over 100 million people through a yet-to-be-invented phone.

Siri debuted in October 2011, when Apple released the iPhone 4S. Bennett hadn’t purchased the phone, but those close to her did.

“A colleague e-mailed me [about Siri] and said, ‘Hey, we’ve been playing around with this new Apple phone. Isn’t this you?'”

Bennett went to Apple’s website and listened to video clips announcing Siri. The voice was unmistakably hers.

Siri’s identity has remained unknown up until now. Apple is notoriously secretive about its inner workings but the veil was lifted after tech news site The Verge recently posted a video How Siri found its voice , igniting speculation about the real person behind the voice of Siri.

Apple wouldn’t confirm reports Siri was Bennett, so CNN hired an audio forensics expert to verify the claim. He says he is “100 per cent” certain the two are the same.

Bennett has also been tight-lipped about her secret fame. So what made her change her mind and go public?

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


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