Intriguing news from my employer today: the BBC is launching its own voice assistant.
It won’t compete with Alexa or Google, the Guardian reports, but will instead be a voice interface to interact with BBC software on smart TVs and similar. The theory goes that a BBC-made voice assistant will understand English accents better than the American-developed tech in use already.
The BBC’s team is turning to richly-accented BBC employees up and down the country to record a diverse range of voices.
The big question, though:
The name Beeb was chosen as a working title after comparing several potential wake words for the software. Although it is likely to be voiced by a single individual, no decision has been made on who this will be.
Who will be the voice of Beeb?
The obvious contenders for me:
– Moira Stewart, though a large number of Brits may consider her to already be the voice of, er, HMRC.
– Terry Wogan, as there’s surely enough archive material to be able to generate this?
– David Attenborough, obviously
– Zippy, Bungle and George, on rotation
– Barry Davies, as it’s already proven he can put his voice to absolutely anything and make sense of it
– Keith from The Office
– The sun baby from the Teletubbies, now in her mid-twenties
So many possibilities.
Actually, maybe one possible contender for the voice of Beeb could be Jon Briggs.
He was the man who did the between-rounds voiceover on the Weakest Link, and was an announcer on Radio 2. He’s also known, though, to British iPhone users as the first voice of Siri…