Your Voice

Your voice can now be preserved for posterity. Literally. The Voice Library charges a $50, 5 year subscription to archive your voice. You can give friends and family access, too. Right now I save all of my nephew's voicemails on my phone and it's been a pain trying to get the recordings off my phone for longer term storage. The Voice Library doesn't seem to allow users to transfer in media files. Still, it's an interesting concept and just the tip of many other posthumous digital products.

Why the Voice You Hear is Female

Ever wonder why most automated voices are female? Even that of Apple's Siri? This Atlantic article does a great job of breaking down some largely unacknowledged biases. From the article:

"In 1987, people didn't rely on their devices the way we do today. They didn't trust them as much. Apple needed to build that trust and wanted its then-imaginary personal assistant to project an air of competence. Natural choice? Manly avatar. But as people have gained confidence in their gadgets, the question for Apple has shifted from performance to likability. And that brings us to another point Nass makes: marketers have an easier time finding a universally likable female voice than a male one. This dovetails with the way stereotypes work; our prejudices make us dislike hearing a man go about secretarial work."

Finding Your Voice

As you know, finding my voice has been a literal and figurative pursuit for me lately. As a result, I was especially intrigued by an interview of Director Tom Hooper on NPR about his upcoming moving starring Colin Firth, The King's Speech. You have to listen to an audio snippet of Colin playing King George VI. I heard it while driving home recently and it moved me to tears.

Also from the interview: "What I learned about stammering was that, when as a young child you lose the confidence of anyone who wants to listen to you, you lose confidence in your voice and the right to speech," says Hooper. "And a lot of the therapy was saying, 'You have a right to be heard.' "