Almost two years after the world was first introduced to the soothing, mellifluous voice of the iPhone, we meet the woman whose actual voice was used to create Siri. Her name is Allison Dufty, and she's featured in a new documentary short about creating voice communication software via many linguistic puzzle pieces.
The video is bizarrely thrilling as we see Dufty in a sound booth recording random words and phrases, and even the numbers "one" and "two" in different intonations.
As she tells us, "When I was younger, I waited tables in a really fancy restaurant where you had to read an endless list of specials. And I would get to the end and people would look up at me and say, 'You have such a nice voice!'" She later got into broadcast journalism, and was a reporter on the Philadelphia NPR station. And thus, a famous voiceover talent, and the voice of our dystopian, 2001-esque real-life nightmare, was born.
The Verge gets into the emerging boom in voice tools, which has led to things like Salli, the voice that will read aloud from the Kindle Fire. And, as they note, "For every Siri, there’s an actor sitting in a sound booth, really needing to go to the bathroom or scratch an itch."
Update: Ms. Dufty emailed us insisting on a retraction, saying that she's "definitely not" the voice of Siri. However, she was working on this voice project for Nuance, and is shown at the office in Sunnyvale, around the corner from Apple, and is this not a firm that likely contracted with Apple on the voice recognition stuff? AND DOES SHE NOT SOUND EXACTLY LIKE SIRI? Anyway, we're deeply confused. Dufty is getting retractions posted on the various blogs that have taken the title of The Verge's video, "How Siri Found Its Voice" literally, and who did so with good reason.