Siri’s Original Voice Actor Reveals: Earliest Recordings Date Back to 2005

May 27, 2024 – Susan Bennett, a name that might not ring a bell, but her voice surely has. Bennett was the original voice actor for the American version of Siri, the intelligent assistant that debuted alongside the iPhone 4s in October 2011.

It was revealed, on the second anniversary of the iPhone 4s release, that Bennett had spoken about her experience voicing Siri for the first time. She recounted spending four hours daily recording various nonsensical syllables and phrases. These recordings were then manipulated, sped up or slowed down, to create the familiar Siri voice we know today.

In a recent interview with CNN’s Laura Coates, Bennett shared more insights into her role as Siri’s original American voice. The interview, which coincided with the news of a dispute between OpenAI and actress Scarlett Johansson, delved into the intricacies of voice acting for AI assistants. Johansson had accused OpenAI’s chatbot, ChatGPT, of using a digital assistant named “Sky” that mimicked her voice, while the voice actor for Sky denied receiving any instructions to imitate Johansson.

During the CNN interview, Bennett expressed surprise at becoming Siri’s voice. She explained that her voice was recorded in 2005, long before the iPhone 4s was released. “In 2011, I got a call from a colleague who said, ‘We’re playing with this new iPhone 4s, and isn’t that your voice?’ I was shocked,” Bennett recalled. Originally, she thought her 2005 recordings would only be used for a text-to-speech feature on phones, as the iPhone hadn’t even been released at the time of her recordings.

With Apple’s upcoming WWDC keynote on June 10th, major updates to Siri are anticipated. Apple is expected to showcase its artificial intelligence plans, including an upgraded Siri with enhanced functionalities.

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