allison dufty

Writer. Talker. Listener.

Siri-gate! (or "when the interwebs attack"... )

 

If you've Googled me, you might be wondering "What's the deal with Siri?"


In 2013, I was interviewed by the tech blog, The Verge, for a behind-the-scenes  feature video and article on what it takes to make a computer voice. The finished video was thoughtful, informative and beautifully produced. Unfortunately, it was headlined "How Siri Found Its Voice."

While catchy, this title made it easy for viewers to miss that the piece was about the HOW and not the WHO of Siri, or any other synthesized voice. There are many computer voices out there, and I am one of them, just not that one.

Nowhere in the video or article did it say that I was the voice of Siri, and anyone listening to me speak could hear that, other being female, there were no similarities to our voices.


But since Siri was in the headline, unobservant viewers jumped to the conclusion that the big secret was out: Siri must be me!

One or two incorrect blog posts led to an international onslaught of sharing and re-posting this case of mistaken identity as fact.


I frantically contacted dozens of blogs and news outlets, asking them to delete their posts, only to be told that, since I was objecting, it must be true. The Verge was asked to change the headline to clear things up, and refused. They finally changed the title of the Youtube version of their video and added this disclaimer: "Allison Dufty is not the voice of Siri, and neither she nor The Verge intended to imply that she is."


After weeks of insanity, the lovely Susan Bennett came forward as the real voice of Siri. Several blogs and news organizations issued apologies.

As a final triumph, I am now listed on Wikipedia, as being famous for not being someone else. :)