Ac­tor on be­ing the sound of Siri

7 Days in Dubai - - ASK THE EXPERT - @B_shosh shoshana @7days.ae

By Shoshana Ke­dem As the first man to voice the Siri func­tion used by mil­lions of iPhone users, he’s used to the ques­tion: “Don’t I know you from some­where?”

But for Jon Briggs, it’s more than just a bit of fame.

He said that while he’s pleased to be part of Ap­ple rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing the smart­phone, his voice (and three women Siris) par­tic­u­larly helped those who are blind or have im­paired eye­sight.

Briggs, who is on a work­ing trip to Dubai, sat down with 7DAYS to talk about becoming one of the most recog­nised voices around.

“I love the fact that Siri was the first, and I was the first, but ev­ery­thing’s go­ing to have a voice fairly soon, all tech­nol­ogy, and that will be the big­gest break­through,” he said.

Briggs, also known for voic­ing BBC’s The Weak­est Link, was the Bri­tish Siri, while fel­low voice ac­tors Su­san Ben­nett, the voice of Delta Air­lines, was Amer­ica’s and Karen Ja­cob­sen, known for voic­ing GPS de­vices, was Aus­tralian Siri.

Briggs said al­though he is still recog­nised by iPhone users, he is bet­ter known as ‘Stan the an­nouncer from The Weak­est Link’.

Ap­ple has since re­placed them, but their orig­i­nal voices can still be down­loaded.

“Ap­ple didn’t like me talk­ing about it and the four of us who were the orig­i­nal voices got iden­ti­fied, so that’s why they changed us”, said Briggs. “In case we turned out to be mad axe mur­der­ers”, he jokes.

Orig­i­nally, he recorded 5,000 sen­tences for US com­pany Scan­soft, with­out know­ing what the project was for. And he was sur- prised when his record­ing was li­censed by Ap­ple. He said the best part was open­ing the world of tech­nol­ogy to those who need it most. He said: “Peo­ple who are vis­ually im­paired are dis­en­fran­chised from us­ing the tech­nol­ogy that you and I use on a daily ba­sis - this is why I like be­ing Siri.” He re­alised he was do­ing some­thing worth­while on re­ceiv­ing an email from a blind user thank­ing him for his “crys­tal clear” voice, which helped him to write mu­sic. Briggs is in Dubai to work on a new ven­ture called Lit­tle Voice, which teaches kids to max­imise their speech from a young age. “We’re giv­ing them those skills now as they're vi­tal.”

TALK THE TALK: Briggs’ voice is known to mil­lions of iPhone users

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