Stephen Hawking Gets an Upgrade

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by aaronvan, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #1
    Finally, as story not about someone who died.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/st...software-works/story?id=27304325&from=related

    Incidentally, "The Theory of Anything" is a pretty good romance movie.
     
  2. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #2
    And yet Hawking still continues to use a version of the DECtalk voice synthesizer, specifically, a "Calltext 5010", a hardware device manufactured in 1988 by SpeechPlus, Inc. :p

    Since Dectalk can "sing", I don't know why Hawking hasn't at least "covered" a few pop tunes yet... :confused:

     
  3. Ingster macrumors 6502

    Ingster

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    #3
    I would think te reason he hasn't changed his voice is that it's HIS voice and would probably confuse people if he had a more human sounding voice
     
  4. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Hawking hasn't changed his voice because he doesn't want to. He said his first voice was horrible and unintelligible then he found a mechanical voice he liked.

    He said there was also some irony in that it sounded mechanical like a call center. He said it's his voice now however and he wants people who cannot speak for themselves to know that they can grow up and sound just like him.
     
  5. Anuba macrumors 68040

    Anuba

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    #5
    True. That voice is his signum and changing it at this point would be like New Coke.

    I'm not sure whether he has checked out the market lately though... from his blog:

    The best he's heard, really? It sounds no better than SAM, a speech synth I toyed around with on Commodore 64 some 30 years ago. The built-in OS X speech synth sounds a hundred times more natural.

    I think for his 75th birthday they should upgrade his chair with full THX sound, a huge bass cannon and a voice synth that sounds somewhere between James Earl Jones and Benedict Cumberbatch. Show them who's boss.
     
  6. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #6
    A commercial product isn't really HIS voice, but yes, I do understand the physiological need of most humans to view one's voice as something "personal" and as part of their "self image."

    But why would another voice be "confusing?" Are there really that many people who don't realize Stephen Hawking's speaks via a device?

    Frankly, I don't care what Stephen Hawking sounds like. I pay more attention to what he has to say...

    These days, I doubt if many people with communication disabilities who are trying out "augmentative communication" devices are opting for the vintage Dectalk speech synth sound.

    Today's generation of speech synths are of much better quality today and far cheaper, etc. Dectalk was distinctly "male" sounding. There's more to emulating a female voice that simply raising pitch. I'd think a female in need of a augmentative communication device would want one that sounds more "female," such as the young lady in the video below is using.



    She talks about using several different speech synth devices since a young age, and gives a demo of using two. But she's young. And the young are usually more open to embracing change...

    Actually, the formula for "Coke" has been changed many times over the product's lifetime. But what people don't realize has changed, won't freak them out, I suppose...

    Sure... Dectalk has that "retro" quality about it, but there's certainly nothing unique about Dectalk. "Fred" on OS X emulates it fairly closely as does the old Speak-n-Spell toys from the 1970s, along with a zillion other old devices and toys.

    The built-in OS X voices are beginning to show their age compared with the latest and greatest in speech synthesis. As always, time (and technology) marches on...
     
  7. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

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    #7
    You missed the whole point, let me try by finding the original source on the matter

     
  8. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #8
    Yep... Read that days ago. What makes you think I "missed" something?

    In case you missed it, I bought up the fact that his speech synth was not being upgraded during this last "upgrade."

    Is that OK with you? :p
     
  9. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

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    #9
    You missed the point of why Stephen Hawking believes people may want to sound like him and went off on your own tangential subject on the matter which is almost entirely irrelevant to the original statement made by Hawking himself.
     
  10. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #10
    So you only want to hear one opinion -- yours.

    Got it.
     
  11. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

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    #11
    No I was just stating what Hawking said, it wasn't a questioned I asked or something that I put up for debate myself.
     
  12. localoid, Dec 7, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014

    localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #12
    RE: "What Hawking said..."

    Hawking's rational was valid some 25 years ago or so, when Dectalk was one the best sounding speech synth solution on the market. Back then, it was the "best thing" he tried out, but that was then and this is now. There are much, much better sounding solutions on the market, available "off the shelf" at far cheaper prices.

    Today, a family of even upper middle class means would be foolish to go on Ebay in search of a dedicated hardware speech synth for a child with a with communication disability. Hawking is using an antique, that hasn't been manufactured for about 20 years. If you do manage to find one that's still working that's for sale, you better know a good tech person that can keep it working when its electronic components break. Hawking owns three of the Calltext 5010 units, and has a full time tech person working for him that keeps them in working order.

    I suppose if a family was extremely wealthy they could afford to invest a huge amount of time and money finding, buying, and maintaining antique hardware. For families of more modest means something like an iPad running one or more of the thirty of so augmentative communication apps is a much more viable solution. As this article points out, the iPad (by itself) isn't "perfect" (yet) for this application. Some seem afraid of it, but given a little time and the steady advance of technology, that will probably change in the not so distant future.
     
  13. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #13
    As he has used that voice for such a long time, it may well be a central part of his identity, and thus he may simply be unwilling to change such a fundamental part of himself.

    Just a thought...
     
  14. dejo Moderator

    dejo

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    #14
    According to IMDB, Stephen Hawking has copyright on his voice:

     
  15. localoid, Dec 8, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014

    localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #15
    LOL. You can't copyright a voice. If Hawking said then he was pulling somebody's leg.

    EDIT: You couldn't copyright a voice unless you've created the sound samples for the phonemes samples themselves. Hawking surely didn't do that -- DEC created Dectalk.

    EDIT2: It was a joke by Hawking.

     
  16. weckart macrumors 68040

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    #16
    Reminds me of all those humorous iPhone threads with predictive text bloopers. Can't wait for Hawking to start saying inappropriate things in interviews.
     
  17. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    #17
    pretty sure another device could produce that voice

    The voice he likes could be produced by any modern tech with little difficulty I'm sure. He is using the old stuff because of nostalgic reasons there is really no other reason to continue to do so.
     
  18. PinkyMacGodess, Dec 12, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2014

    PinkyMacGodess macrumors 68040

    PinkyMacGodess

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    #18
    This video made my dog get up and leave the room...

    Too funny...

     
  19. T.Doyobi macrumors member

    T.Doyobi

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    Dec 21, 2013
    #19
    If it were me, I’d want a decent quadrophonic sound system on board. With a big red button that I press when anyone annoy’s me, emitting loud and obnoxious techno music. I would also fit a laser at just about groin level, to get people out of the way, OMG I’m a Sith!...
     

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