Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Viral Video: Roger Ebert's New/Old Computer-Generated Voice Speaks Volumes

Here is a remarkable video clip of film critic Roger Ebert showing off his “new” voice in a television interview on the “The Oprah Winfrey Show” yesterday.

Ebert has dubbed the new voice “Roger Jr.” That’s because it has been computer-generated using numerous past recordings he has made, from innovative software programming by a Scottish tech outfit called CereProc.

“It’s what they call a beta. It still needs improvement, but at least it sounds like me,” he said.

The award-winning movie reviewer lost his voice after a bout of thyroid cancer, but remains as eloquent as ever with his new/old voice.

Said Ebert:

“I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this, and I am happy that I lived long enough to find it out.”

Indeed, and here’s the video proof (that is Ebert’s wife crying at the end):

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus