Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Siri, who is Siri? The voice behind Apple’s assistant finally revealed

Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide product marketing, speaks about Siri voice recognition and detection on the iPhone 4S at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California October 4, 2011.


If you have ever asked Siri, Apple's virtural voice assistant, who she really is – indeed, an existential question worthy of Philip K. Dick – you may now have your answer.

In an interview with CNN, Susan Bennett claims to be the voice that keeps your life organized. In real life, she sounds more human, obviously. But it's not hard to make the leap.

"Siri, would you like to be interviewed by CNN?" asks Bennett to her phone. "This is about you, Susan, not me," the voice replies with an indistinguishable mix of politesse and snark.

Story continues below advertisement

So far, Apple has remained mum on the reveal. But CNN cites an audio-forensics expert who compared the voices and is "100 per cent" certain they match up. Bennett lives outside Atlanta, not far from the facility where she recorded all the voice functions.

In the interview, conveniently timed to Siri's two-year anniversary, Bennett expresses the type of dry humour you would expect of someone who has spent her career being heard and not seen.

She recounts how she "started her life as a machine quite young" when she provided the voice for Tillie, the first ATM machine that was developed in 1974 by First National Bank.

Tech culture site The Verge suggests that its article on virtual voices contributed to Bennett's big reveal.

Arguably the most interesting part of Bennett's coming to CNN is when she notes that she recorded the Siri voices back in July, 2005. "When I recorded those voices, I had absolutely no idea where they'd end up."

Report an error Licensing Options

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨