Siri, Cortana, you and the machine next door

Are you one of those who gets psyched by the dominance of Artificial Intelligence in our lives and scared that they will very soon take over the world? Well this is entirely possible and in this post I am going to show you how it could happen. But ever wondered the voice behind Siri and Cortana are of real persons of flesh and blood? I will introduce them to you towards the end of this article. If you are women, then you more susceptible to voice theft. It has been scientifically proven that people are more likely to take instruction from a female voice and it might start from birth.
We have been obeying machines voice instructions through answering machines, telephones, banking systems, ATM machines etc. It has been one way communications as we were always in the “listening end”.  But then came Siri along and usehered in yet another Apple initiated makeover to our world. At the beginning, both Google and Microsoft ridiculed Apple’s idea of voice assistant but both companies quickly dropped their objections and copied Apple. The rest is history as they say!

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning is increasingly becoming the backbone of everything from self-driving car to virtual assistants. Recently Google’s Sundar Pichai had demonstrated how google assistant could fix a saloon’s appointment or secure a restaurant reservation. If you have read Dan Brown’s latest book, “The Origin”, then you have already met Winston and experienced his prowess.
Susan Bennett has been talking for the machines for decades. She has spoken for ATM machines, airlines, movies and list will go on. In this interview she explains how she has recorded for 4 hours for a period of a month without having any clue that she would end up becoming the voice for Siri. Jennifer Lee Taylor, an American voice actress has given her voice to Microsoft’s Cortana. Similar to Susan, Jen too recorded short sentences over a period of time. Now the machines synthesizes those short sentences to form their answers for whatever questions that we might ask.
One day in the near future, a rogue machine would coerce you to lend your voice. Then synthesize that to form sentences of its own to take over your family, your friends and finally your life. Someone might be already recording your telephone conversations secretly for that very purpose.


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