Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Roger Ebert Speaks!

Roger Ebert, who had a portion of his jaw removed after a prolonged bout with thyroid cancer, will appear on "Oprah" today to show off his new voice, made possible by a Scottish company that designs text-to-speech programs. Basically, hours and hours of archived footage of Ebert's TV appearances have been cataloged, allowing him to type out language and have it repeated in his own speaking voice. The program can even do inflections, so if he writes an exclamation, his "voice" will shout what was typed.

Obviously, it's not perfect, but it's still fairly effective, and does at least simulate the effect of hearing the guy speak. Ebert's always been one of my favorite writers about film, and the few times I met him in person or corresponded with him, seemed like a genuinely good person. It's pretty inspiring to see him pushing on after all that tragedy...Hard to even fathom what it would be like to lose the ability to eat normal foods, speak, etc., especially for such an outspoken and active individual.

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Posted via email from Lon Harris