Siri is Real. And We Know Who It Is

Yes, Siri is actually real

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© 2017 Paola Spartà - Flickr

We first met the English Siri four years ago, when Apple launched its voice-powered personal assistant on the iPhone 4S in June 2010. Since then, millions of people have become familiar with Siri's dulcet tones.

You could be forgiven for thinking the voice is entirely computer generated, due to the variety of responses, but in fact companies that specialise in computer-generated speech record a real human voice and mould it to say virtually any possible phrase.

In the UK, the voice of Siri belongs to Jon Briggs, a well known voiceover artist who has worked on the Weakest Link, Radio 2 and Channel 4.

The interesting thing is that Jon did not know he was going to be the voice of Siri until a BBC journalist demonstrated Siri on the radio. He had recorded the voice samples a few years earlier for a company that specialises in computer-generated speech - that is, taking Jon's voice but moulding it to say virtually any possible phrase. 

This also means that even though Jon's voice is used everyday by millions, he does not get paid by Apple - he just got the initial fee for recording his voice in the first place.

When Apple was creating Siri, picked out Jon by chance, without his knowledge.

Briggs told the BBC, "I discovered that I was being used as the voice of Siri when Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC technology correspondent, suddenly started demonstrating it on BBC Breakfast.

"I thought 'I recognise that voice!', and so it was true - and it's a slightly bizarre journey since then."