Roger Ebert Regains Ability to Speak With Computer
Roger Ebert demonstrated his ability to speak once again after cancer took away his voice.
Ebert spoke to a large crowd at the TED conference recently in California. Joined by his wife Chaz and two friends, he typed in words to a Macintosh computer which then read his words out loud.
"These are my words, but this is not my voice," Ebert told the crowd, as quoted by the Hollywood Reporter. "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."
The famed movie critic was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer and had to undergo a series of surgeries that took away his ability to speak. During the process, his carotid artery ruptured and his jaw could not be reconstructed. Ebert now wears a facial prosthesis.
"There was no particular day when anyone told me I would never speak again; it just sort of became obvious, he said.
He told the audience he began communicating by writing, then began using computer voices. He said he was eternally grateful at being able to speak again.
Because of the rush of human knowledge, because of the digital revolution, I have a voice, and I do not need to scream."