How Mac OS X’s Alex Helped Roger Ebert “speak” again - Macenstein

How Mac OS X’s Alex Helped Roger Ebert “speak” again

When legendary film critic Roger Ebert lost his lower jaw to cancer, his career, and perhaps cultural relevance both appeared to be in jeopardy. Yet thanks to recent technologies such as blogging and Twitter, he has been able to successfully make the transition from being one of the most prolific and opinionated “speakers” to one of the most prolific and opinionated writers. He’s proven it’s quite literally “the THOUGHT” that counts, not how you express it.

Still, as you can imagine, when you spend the first five decades of your life as a big blow hard, it can be quite difficult to adjust to no longer being able to verbalize your thoughts. However, during a recent TED talk, Ebert let the world know how technology in general, and the Mac in particular, has helped him once again “speak” his mind.

“These are my words, but this is not my voice,” Ebert told the audience of nearly 2,000. “This is Alex, the best computer voice I’ve been able to find, which comes as standard equipment on every Macintosh. For most of my life, I never gave a second thought to my ability to speak. It was like breathing. In those days, I was living in a fool’s paradise. After surgeries for cancer took away my ability to speak, eat or drink, I was forced to enter this virtual world in which a computer does some of my living for me.”

3 Responses to “How Mac OS X’s Alex Helped Roger Ebert “speak” again”
  1. Joe says:

    So weird to be able to select that text and listen to it side by side with the video. I’m gonna call that voice Ebert from now on.

  2. Min says:

    Incredible!!!! That’s all I can say.

  3. Raymond says:

    His face gives me nightmares.

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