Original Siri voice in U.S. reveals how much Apple paid her to speak for the digital assistant

Original Siri voice in U.S. reveals how much Apple paid her to speak for the digital assistant

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Susan Bennett’s name might mean nothing to you but you almost certainly have heard her voice. Bennett was the original U.S. voice actor for Siri which debuted in October 2011 on the iPhone 4s. On the second anniversary of the introduction of the iPhone 4s, Bennett came forward to explain how she ended up as the voice of Siri. She was recorded by a company that later became Nuance and for four hours a day, she was taped making nonsensical sounds and phrases that were sped up and slowed down to create the iconic Siri voice.
A few days ago, Ms. Bennett was interviewed by CNN’s Laura Coates who was doing a story about the recent public battle between ChatGPT parent Open AI and actress Scarlett Johansson. The actress accuses OpenAI of imitating her voice for ChatGPT’s digital assistant “Sky.” Johansson famously voiced an AI assistant in the 2013 movie “Her.” The voice actress who did get the role to speak for Sky says that she was never told to imitate Johansson.

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With the OpenAI-Scarlett Johansson brouhaha making the news, CNN decided to bring out Susan Bennett who shared some more details about her work as the original U.S. voice of Siri. Bennett says that since her voice had been recorded in 2005, she didn’t know that she was Siri until the iPhone 4s was released. “I got a phone call from a fellow voice actor in 2011 saying ‘We’re playing around with this new iPhone 4s. Isn’t this you?’ and I went…Whaaat.” Bennett thought that when she recorded her voice back in 2005, it was for phone messaging. Remember, back in 2005 when Bennet’s voice was put on tape, the iPhone had yet to be introduced and released.

Bennett did confess that none of the original Siri voices got paid by Apple for having their voices used for the digital assistant. She did say that the next group of Siri voices did get paid. This year, we expect to see a huge makeover for Siri starting with next month’s WWDC Keynote to be held on June 10th. At that time, Apple will preview its AI initiatives which should include upgraded features for Siri.

Bennet’s appearance on the YouTube video that we embedded with this article starts at the 1:43 mark.

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