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課程來源:TED
     

 

Roger Ebert 談重建我的聲音

Roger Ebert: Remaking my voice

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:Roger Ebert

2011年3月演講,2011年4月在TED上線

 

翻譯:洪曉慧

編輯:朱學恆

簡繁轉換:洪曉慧

後製:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

影片請按此下載

MAC及手持裝置版本請按此下載

閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講

影評人Roger Ebert因癌症失去了他的下巴及進食和說話能力。但並沒有失去他的聲音。在TED2011的感人演講中,Ebert和妻子Chaz,及朋友Dean Ornish和John Hunter共同講述他非凡的故事。

 

關於Roger Ebert

傳奇影評人Roger Ebert失去了他的聲音,卻在Twitter和他的部落格發現另一個發聲的方式,他在那裡寫下關於創造力、種族、政治和文化的議題-而他在網路上的影評依舊如同以往犀利睿智。

 

為什麼要聽他演講

以任何標準衡量,Roger Ebert都是一個傳奇。他是第一位贏得普立茲影評獎的人,亦為《芝加哥太陽報》影評人,他最著名之處或許是數十年長期與芝加哥影評人Gene Siskel共同主持的電視節目《Sneak Previews》。此節目歷時23年及3次改名(最終定名為《Siskel and Ebert and the Movies》),這兩位影評人發表睿智、簡短的影評,引領美國的電影愛好者。Gene Siskel於1999年過世後,Ebert繼續與影評人Richard Roeper共同主持。(他也是Russ Meyer經典作品《飛越美人谷》的共同編劇,這個事實讓不少年輕電影系學生驚訝不已。)

 

2006年,Ebert開始治療甲狀腺癌。他在2010年《君子》雜誌值得一讀的故事中談到自己多次手術及復發的故事。持續地一再動手術,讓他最後失去下巴-及進食和說話的能力。投入部落格和Twitter,使他為自己的影評工作和各方面敏捷才思找到一個新聲音。他參與過亞馬遜連結夥伴計畫,進入《紐約客》標題競賽決賽,並引發一、兩個論戰。他還以自己在電視節目中數萬小時的錄音,開發了新型電腦輔助語音系統。

 

Roger Ebert 已於2013年4月4日因甲狀腺癌與世長辭。

 

Roger Ebert的英語網上資料

首頁:rogerebert.suntimes.com

Twitter: @ebertchicago

 

[TED科技‧娛樂‧設計]

已有中譯字幕的TED影片目錄(繁體)(簡體)。請注意繁簡目錄是不一樣的。

 

Roger Ebert 談重建我的聲音

這是我說的話,但不是我的聲音。這是Alex,是我能找到最棒的電腦語音,是每一台麥金塔電腦的標準配備。我一生大部份時間,從未思考過我的說話能力,這就像呼吸一樣。那些日子,我生活在一個虛幻的天堂裡,癌症手術後,我喪失了說話及進食能力,我被迫進入這個虛擬世界,讓一台電腦替我進行一些日常生活。

 

一連幾天,我們在TED欣賞才華洋溢且口齒清晰的講者演講,我也曾經能像這樣說話,也許我沒那麼聰明,但至少很健談。我想將今天的演講獻給說話這個行為本身,以及能說話或不能說話的行為,是如何不可磨滅地與一個人的特質相繫,並在它喪失時迫使一個全新的人誕生。然而,我發現,聽電腦語音,只要時間稍長,就會變得單調,所以我決定請我一些TED朋友,為我大聲念出我的話,我請我的妻子Chaz打頭陣。

 

Chaz Ebert:「在三次嘗試重建下巴及恢復我語言能力的期間,陪伴在我身邊的是Chaz。我因為唾腺癌復發,在2006年進行第一次手術。我預期及時出院回到我的影評節目《Ebert及Roper電影評論》,我已經預先錄製足夠內容,讓我度過六星期的手術和復原期。醫生們從我腿上取下腓骨,還有一些肩膀上的組織,塑造一個新下巴。我的舌頭、喉嚨和聲帶依然健康,未受感染。」

 

(笑聲)

 

「我很樂觀,世界上一切都很美好,第一次手術相當成功,我看著鏡中的自己,看起來相當不錯。兩星期後,我準備回家,我用我的iPod播放Leonard Cohen的歌《我是你的男人》,給我的醫生和護士聽。突然間,我開始大出血,我的頸動脈破裂。感謝上帝,我仍在我的病房,我的醫生在場。Chaz告訴我,如果這首歌不是唱了這麼久,我可能已經在車上,在回家的路上,並且當場死在那裡。所以,謝謝你,Leonard Cohen,救了我的命。」

 

(掌聲)

 

「接著是第二次手術,撐了五、六天,動脈還是破裂了。然後是第三次嘗試,這次依然修補得相當好,直到再度失敗。一位來自巴西的醫生說,他從未見過任何頸動脈破裂的人還能活。當我離開醫院之前,已住院一年,這段期間我的頸動脈已破裂七次。

 

並不是某天有人告訴我我再也不能說話,情況只是漸漸變得明顯。人類能說話,是靠著我們對聲腔中空氣的巧妙操控,配合呼吸系統所產生的結果。我們必需能屏住氣息,並操控呼吸,來產生聲音。因此,這個系統基本上必須是密閉的,才能保留空氣。因為我已經失去下巴,再也不能形成密閉空間,因此,我的舌頭和我所有其他的發聲器官都變得毫無作用。」

 

Dean Ornish:「最初有很長一段時間,我在筆電裡寫下訊息,然後嘗試在筆電裡打字,使用其內建的語音。這快了些,別人不需要試著閱讀我寫的東西。我試過網路上各式各樣的電腦語音,有幾個月我用的是英國口音,Chaz稱它為Lawrence爵士。」(笑聲)「這是我能找到最清晰的聲音。然後,蘋果公司發佈了Alex的聲音,這是我聽過最棒的,它知道像是驚嘆號和問號之間的差別,當它看到一個句點,它知道如何讓一個句子聽起來像是結束,而不是沒說完。有各式各樣的HTML代碼,你可以用來控制時間和電腦語音的轉折。我都試過了,對我來說,它們都有一個根本問題:太慢了。當我發現自己在一個對話場合,我必需很快打字並投入這件事,人們沒有時間或耐心等著我為每個字或語句處理代碼。

 

但我們賦予自己聲音的發音何種價值?這對你身為人類的自我有何影響?當人們聽到Alex替我說話時,他們會感到隔閡嗎?這是否使人們之間產生鴻溝或距離?我對自己不能說話有什麼感覺?我可以感覺,我仍感覺得到跟人群隔著很大的距離,當我和我的筆電分開時,感到很不自在,我甚至知道大多數人對我言語上的不便並不是很有耐心。

 

因此,Chaz建議找個可以將聲音客制化的公司,使用我三十年來在電視節目中錄製的聲音。起初我反對這個提議,我想,聽到自己的聲音從一台電腦發出令人毛骨悚然,不是自己的聲音聽起來多少令人自在些。但後來我決定不妨試試。

 

因此我們聯絡一間在蘇格蘭的公司,它能創造出個人化的電腦語音。他們從未用過預錄的聲音製造,他們製作過的所有聲音都是來自控制室中錄下的發聲者原音,但他們願意嘗試。因此,我寄了多個小時我聲音的錄音給它們,包括一些我錄在DVD上的電影評論,聽起來很像我的聲音,確實很像。這有個原因,因為那就是我。但事實並非如此簡單,來自我電視節目的錄音並不十分有用,因為其中包含太多其他類型的聲音,例如電影配樂或Gene Siskel跟我鬥嘴。」(笑聲)「我的話往往有一種特別的強調語氣,跟句子的語意並不是很符合。

 

我讓你們聽一個聲音樣本,這是一些可用的影評錄音,當Chaz和我上歐普拉的節目時,我們稱這個聲音為Roger Jr.或Roger 2.0。」

 

Roger 2.0:歐普拉,能回到妳節目中真是棒極了,我們曾談過很多,現在我們又見面了。這是我電腦語音的第一個版本,它仍需要改進,但至少聽起來像我,而不像HAL 9000(譯注:小說《太空漫遊》中的超級電腦)。當我第一次聽到這個聲音時打了個冷顫,不管我打了什麼,這個聲音都會照念出來,當我讀著某些東西,它會用我的聲音念出。我已預先鍵入這些話,因為我不認為坐在這裡看我打字是個驚喜。

 

這聲音是由一家名為CereProc的蘇格蘭公司製作的,這讓我感覺很好。你現在聽到的這些語句中,很多最初是我評論《北非諜影》和《大國民》時說的,這是他們第一個為個人創造的聲音。電腦中有幾個很好的聲音可用,但它們聽起來都像別人的聲音,而這個聲音聽起來像我。我打算將它用在電視、電臺和網路上,需要使用聲音的人應該知道,大多數電腦已內建語音系統,許多盲人使用它們,當他們自行閱讀網頁的時候。但我不得不說,我一年級的時候,他們說我話太多,現在我還是可以做到。

 

(笑聲)

 

Roger Ebert:正如你們所聽到的,這聲音聽起來像我,但字音上下跳動,語調不自然。蘇格蘭那些善良的人仍在改進我的聲音,我對他們有信心,但到目前為止,蘋果公司Alex的聲音是我聽過最好的,我寫了一個談論它的部落格,其中有個評論,事實上是來自Alex的配音員。他說他花了很長時間錄製各種語調,用於這個聲音,樣本眾多是必要的。

 

John Hunter:「我一生中總是滔滔不絕,現在我已說完了最後一句話,但我甚至記不得說了什麼。我覺得像是Harlan Ellison故事中的英雄,故事是《無聲狂嘯》。週三時,David Christian向我們解釋,在宇宙的時間洪流中,人類的存在是多麼微不足道的一瞬,幾乎有億萬年時間,地球上一個生命也沒有,地球出現生命後幾乎大部份時間並不存在智慧生命。只有當我們學會將知識代代相傳,文明才成為可能。以宇宙觀點來說,這大約10分鐘前的事,最後,人類最先進和神秘的工具出現,即電腦,主要發生在我出生後這段時期。

 

一些早期著名的電腦在我家鄉Urbana組建,這也是HAL 9000的誕生地。當我聽到Salman Khan星期三精彩的演講,關於可漢老師學院網站,教導全世界學生數百門學科,我開始回想,大約在1960年,身為一位還在高中就讀的地方報社記者,我被派到伊利諾大學計算機實驗室,採訪某個叫做PLATO系統的創造者,英文縮寫代表『自動教學操作程式邏輯』,這是一個電腦輔助教學系統,當時在一台叫做ILLIAC的電腦上執行。程式設計者說它可以幫助學生學習。

 

我懷疑,在50年前那一天,他們是否曾夢想過Salman Khan所達成的結果。但這不是重點,重點是,PLATO不過是50年前的事,只是一瞬間,它繼續以各種形式在更多、更先進的電腦上發展和運作,直到五年前。我從維基百科得知,從簡單的架構開始,PLATO建立了論壇、留言板、線上測試、電子郵件、聊天室、圖像語言、即時通訊、遠端螢幕共享和多人遊戲。

 

「第一個網路瀏覽器也在Urbana開發,看來,我在伊利諾下州的家鄉,是我們今天身處的大部份虛擬網路宇宙誕生地。我可不是商會派來這裡招商的。(笑聲)我只是個想要溝通的男人。

 

這一切全都發生在我這一生中,我從70年代開始在電腦上寫作,當時首批Atech系統安裝在芝加哥太陽報社,我曾在Radio Shack商店排隊,購買第一批100型的電腦。當我在奧斯卡頒獎典禮新聞轉播室告訴人們最好安裝一些電話線以利網路連結時,他們不知道我在說什麼。我買的第一台筆電叫做DEC Rainbow,有人還記得嗎?」(掌聲)「太陽報派我去坎城影展,帶著一部手提箱大小的手提電腦,叫做 Porteram Telebubble」(笑聲)「我加入Compuserve當時,加入它的會員人數比我現在Twitter的好友還少。」

 

(笑聲)

 

CE:「所有這一切都在眨眼之間發生,很難想像接下來會發生什麼。我非常幸運能生活在這個歷史時刻,事實上,我很幸運能生活在這樣的歷史中,因為如果沒有智慧和記憶,就沒有歷史。數十億年來,宇宙的演變毫無跡象可尋,現在,我們生活在網路時代,這似乎建立了一種全球意識的形式,正因為如此,我可以盡可能地溝通。我們生在一個時間和空間的盒子中,我們用文字及溝通來打破這個限制,與其他人接觸。

 

對我來說,網路開始變成一個有用的工具,現在已成為我每日實際存在的依賴。我無法說話,只能很快的打字。電腦語音有時並不是很複雜,但用我的電腦,我可以比以往任何時候做更廣泛的交流,我感覺,彷佛我的部落格、電子郵件、Twitter和Facebook給了我日常對話一個替代品。這不是什麼進步,但這是我能做到最好的了。它們給了我一個說話的方式,不是每個人都有像我妻子Chaz那樣的耐心,但在網路上,大家都用同樣速度說話。

 

這整個冒險成了一種學習經驗。每當手術失敗,我的肌肉和骨頭就少了一些,現在我連一點下巴也不剩。每當從我雙肩取下組織時,手術給我留下的是背痛,減少了我行走自如的能力。諷刺的是,我的腿沒問題,是肩膀減緩了我的步行速度。你們今天看到我,我看起來像歌劇魅影。」

 

不,你才不像

 

(笑聲)

 

(掌聲)

 

「這是人類的天性,看著像我這樣的人,假設我已失去一些正常部份,人們-」(掌聲)-「人們大聲說話」

 

我很抱歉,對不起。

 

(掌聲)

 

「人們大聲地、慢慢地跟我說話,有時他們認為我是聾子,有些人不願意正視我。」

 

相信我,他不是故意的。無論如何,讓我繼續念。

 

(笑聲)

 

你永遠不該讓妻子讀像這樣的東西。

 

(笑聲)

 

「這是人之常情,不願意正視疾病,我們不喜歡被提醒自己在死亡面前的脆弱,這就是為什麼在網路上寫東西已成為我生命的救贖。我的思考和寫作能力並未受到影響,在網站上,我真實的聲音得以表達。我也遇到很多殘障人士用這種方式交流,我Twitter的一位朋友可以只用腳趾打字,網路上最有趣的部落格之一是我一位朋友所寫,他叫做Smartass Cripple」(笑聲)「Google他,他會讓你大笑不已。這些人都說,無論如何,眼中所見的並不一定全都如你所想。

 

所以我不是來這裡抱怨的,有許多事使我高興和寬慰,我似乎暫時脫離了癌症,我寫的跟以前一樣好,我依然多產。如果我身處幾個宇宙瞬間之前任何時期,我會像隱士一樣孤獨,我會被困在我的腦海中。因為人類知識的高峰,因為數位革命,我擁有一個聲音,我不需要尖叫。」

 

RE:等一下,我有一件事要補充,一個男人走向一位精神科醫生,精神科醫生說,「你瘋了。」那個傢伙說,「我想聽第二個評論。」精神科醫生說,「好吧,你真醜。」

 

(笑聲)

 

你們都知道人工智慧測試-Turing測試,一位人類評判員跟一個人與一台電腦交談,如果評判員無法分辨這台機器是否是人類,機器就算通過測試。我現在提出一個對電腦語音的測試–Ebert測試,如果一個電腦語音能夠成功說個笑話,並像Henny Youngman一樣,將時機和闡述方式掌握得那麼好,這就是我想要的聲音。

 

(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About this talk

When film critic Roger Ebert lost his lower jaw to cancer, he lost the ability to eat and speak. But he did not lose his voice. In a moving talk from TED2011, Ebert and his wife, Chaz, with friends Dean Ornish and John Hunter, come together to tell his remarkable story.

About Roger Ebert

When legendary film critic Roger Ebert lost his voice, he found another on Twitter and his blog, where he writes about creativity, race, politics and culture -- and as brilliantly as ever about film. Full bio and more links

Transcript

These are my words, but this is not my voice. 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.

For several days now, we have enjoyed brilliant and articulate speakers here at TED. I used to be able to talk like that. Maybe I wasn't as smart, but I was at least as talkative. I want to devote my talk today to the act of speaking itself, and how the act of speaking or not speaking is tied so indelibly to one's identity as to force the birth of a new person when it is taken away. However, I've found that listening to a computer voice for any great length of time can be monotonous. So I've decided to recruit some of my TED friends to read my words aloud for me. I will start with my wife, Chaz.

Chaz Ebert: "It was Chaz who stood by my side through three attempts to reconstruct my jaw and restore my ability to speak. Going into the first surgery for a recurrence of salivary cancer in 2006, I expected to be out of the hospital in time to return to my movie review show, 'Ebert and Roper at the Movies.' I had pre-taped enough shows to get me through six weeks of surgery and recuperation. The doctors took a fibula bone from my leg and some tissue from my shoulder to fashion into a new jaw. My tongue, larynx and vocal cords were still healthy and unaffected."

(Laughter)

(Laughter)

"I was optimistic, and all was right with the world. The first surgery was a great success. I saw myself in the mirror and I looked pretty good. Two weeks later, I was ready to return home. I was using my iPod to play the Leonard Cohen song 'I'm Your Man' for my doctors and nurses. Suddenly, I had an episode of catastrophic bleeding. My carotid artery had ruptured. Thank God I was still in my hospital room and my doctors were right there. Chaz told me that if that song hadn't played for so long, I might have already been in the car, on the way home, and would have died right there and then. So thank you, Leonard Cohen, for saving my life."

(Applause)

"There was a second surgery -- which held up for five or six days and then it also fell apart. And then a third attempt, which also patched me back together pretty well, until it failed. A doctor from Brazil said he had never seen anyone survive a carotid artery rupture. And before I left the hospital, after a year of being hospitalized, I had seven ruptures of my carotid artery.

There was no particular day when anyone told me I would never speak again; it just sort of became obvious. Human speech is an ingenious manipulation of our breath within the sound chamber of our mouth and respiratory system. We need to be able to hold and manipulate that breath in order to form sounds. Therefore, the system must be essentially airtight in order to capture air. Because I had lost my jaw, I could no longer form a seal, and therefore my tongue and all of my other vocal equipment was rendered powerless."

Dean Ornish: "At first for a long time, I wrote messages in notebooks. Then I tried typing words on my laptop and using its built in voice. This was faster, and nobody had to try to read my handwriting. I tried out various computer voices that were available online, and for several months I had a British accent, which Chaz called Sir Lawrence." (Laughter) "It was the clearest I could find. Then Apple released the Alex voice, which was the best I'd heard. It knew things like the difference between an exclamation point and a question mark. When it saw a period, it knew how to make a sentence sound like it was ending instead of staying up in the air. There are all sorts of html codes you can use to control the time and inflection of computer voices, and I've experimented with them. For me, they share a fundamental problem: they're too slow. When I find myself in a conversational situation, I need to type fast and to jump right in. People don't have the time or the patience to wait for me to fool around with the codes for every word or phrase.

But what value do we place on the sound of our own voice? How does that affect who you are as a person? When people hear Alex speaking my words, do they experience a disconnect? Does that create a separation or a distance from one person to the next? How did I feel not being able to speak? I felt, and I still feel, a lot of distance from the human mainstream. I've become uncomfortable when I'm separated from my laptop. Even then, I'm aware that most people have little patience for my speaking difficulties.

So Chaz suggested finding a company that could make a customized voice using my TV show voice from a period of 30 years. At first I was against it. I thought it would be creepy to hear my own voice coming from a computer. There was something comforting about a voice that was not my own. But I decided then to just give it a try. So we contacted a company in Scotland that created personalized computer voices. They'd never made one from previously-recorded materials. All of their voices had been made by a speaker recording original words in a control booth. But they were willing to give it a try.

So I sent them many hours of recordings of my voice, including several audio commentary tracks that I'd made for movies on DVDs. And it sounded like me, it really did. There was a reason for that; it was me. But it wasn't that simple. The tapes from my TV show weren't very useful because there were too many other kinds of audio involved -- movie soundtracks, for example, or Gene Siskel arguing with me." (Laughter) "And my words often had a particular emphasis that didn't fit into a sentence well enough.

I'll let you hear a sample of that voice. These are a few of the comments I recorded for use when Chaz and I appeared on the Oprah Winfrey program. And here's the voice we call Roger Jr. or Roger 2.0."

Roger 2.0: Oprah, I can't tell you how great it is to be back on your show. We have been talking for a long time, and now here we are again. This is the first version of my computer voice. It still needs improvement, but at least it sounds like me and not like HAL 9000. When I heard it the first time, it sent chills down my spine. When I type anything, this voice will speak whatever I type. When I read something, it will read in my voice. I have typed these words in advance, as I didn't think it would be thrilling to sit here watching me typing.

The voice was created by a company in Scotland named CereProc. It makes me feel good that many of the words you are hearing were first spoken while I was commenting on 'Casablanca' and 'Citizen Kane.' This is the first voice they've created for an individual. There are several very good voices available for computers, but they all sound like somebody else, while this voice sounds like me. I plan to use it on television, radio and the internet. People who need a voice should know that most computers already come with built-in speaking systems. Many blind people use them when they read pages on the Web to themselves. But I've got to say, in first grade, they said I talked too much, and now I still can.

(Laughter)

Roger Ebert: As you can hear, it sounds like me, but the words jump up and down. The flow isn't natural. The good people in Scotland are still improving my voice, and I'm optimistic about it. But so far, the Apple Alex voice is the best one I've heard. I wrote a blog about it and actually got a comment from the actor who played Alex. He said he recorded many long hours in various intonations to be used in the voice. A very large sample is needed.

John Hunter: "All my life I was a motormouth. Now I have spoken my last words, and I don't even remember for sure what they were. I feel like the hero of that Harlan Ellison story titled 'I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.' On Wednesday, David Christian explained to us what a tiny instant the human race represents in the time-span of the universe. For almost all of its millions and billions of years, there was no life on Earth at all. For almost all the years of life on Earth, there was no intelligent life. Only after we learned to pass knowledge from one generation to the next, did civilization become possible. In cosmological terms, that was about 10 minutes ago. Finally came mankind's most advanced and mysterious tool, the computer. That has mostly happened in my lifetime.

Some of the famous early computers were being built in my hometown of Urbana, the birthplace of HAL 9000. When I heard the amazing Talk by Salman Khan on Wednesday, about the Khan Academy website that teaches hundreds of subjects to students all over the world, I had a flashback. It was about 1960. As a local newspaper reporter still in high school, I was sent over to the computer lab of the University of Illinois to interview the creators of something called PLATO. The initials stood for Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations. This was a computer-assisted instruction system, which in those days ran on a computer named ILLIAC. The programmers said it could assist students in their learning.

I doubt, on that day 50 years ago, they even dreamed of what Salman Khan has accomplished. But that's not the point. The point is PLATO was only 50 years ago, an instant in time. It continued to evolve and operated in one form or another on more and more sophisticated computers, until only five years ago. I have learned from Wikipedia that, starting with that humble beginning, PLATO established forums, message boards, online testing, email, chat rooms, picture languages, instant messaging, remote screen sharing and multiple-player games.

"Since the first Web browser was also developed in Urbana, it appears that my hometown in downstate Illinois was the birthplace of much of the virtual, online universe we occupy today. But I'm not here from the Chamber of Commerce." (Laughter) "I'm here as a man who wants to communicate.

All of this has happened in my lifetime. I started writing on a computer back in the 1970s when one of the first Atech systems was installed at the Chicago Sun Times. I was in line at Radio Shack to buy one of the first Model 100's. And when I told the people in the press room at the Academy Awards that they better install some phone lines for Internet connections, they didn't know what I was talking about. When bought my first desktop, it was a DEC Rainbow. Does anybody remember that?" (Applause) "The Sun Times sent me to the Cannes Film Festival with a portable computer the size of a suitcase named the Porteram Telebubble. I joined Compuserve when it had fewer numbers than I currently have followers on Twitter."

(Laughter)

CE: "All of this has happened in the blink of an eye. It is unimaginable what will happen next. It makes me incredibly fortunate to live at this moment in history. Indeed, I am lucky to live in history at all, because without intelligence and memory there is no history. For billions of years, the universe evolved completely without notice. Now we live in the age of the Internet, which seems to be creating a form of global consciousness. And because of it, I can communicate as well as I ever could. We are born into a box of time and space. We use words and communication to break out of it and to reach out to others.

For me, the Internet began as a useful tool and now has become something I rely on for my actual daily existence. I cannot speak, I can only type so fast. Computer voices are sometimes not very sophisticated, but with my computer, I can communicate more widely than ever before. I feel as if my blog, my email, Twitter and Facebook have given me a substitute for everyday conversation. They aren't an improvement, but they're the best I can do. They give me a way to speak. Not everybody has the patience of my wife, Chaz. But online, everybody speaks at the same speed.

This whole adventure has been a learning experience. Every time there was a surgery that failed, I was left with a little less flesh and bone. Now I have no jaw left at all. While harvesting tissue from both my shoulders, the surgeries left me with back pain and reduced my ability to walk easily. Ironic that my legs are fine, and it's my shoulders that slow up my walk. When you see me today, I look like the Phantom of the Opera."

But no you don't.

(Laughter)

(Applause)

"It is human nature to look at someone like me and assume I have lost some of my marbles. People --" (Applause) "People talk loudly --"

I'm so sorry. Excuse me.

(Applause)

"People talk loudly and slowly to me. Sometimes they assume I am deaf. There are people who don't want to make eye contact."

Believe me, he didn't mean this as -- anyway, let me just read it. (Laughter) You should never let your wife read something like this.

(Laughter)

"It is human nature to look away from illness. We don't enjoy a reminder of our own fragile mortality. That's why writing on the Internet has become a life-saver for me. My ability to think and write have not been affected. And on the Web, my real voice finds expression. I have also met many other disabled people who communicate this way. One of my Twitter friends can type only with his toes. One of the funniest blogs on the Web is written by a friend of mine named Smartass Cripple." (Laughter) "Google him and he will make you laugh. All of these people are saying, in one way or another, that what you see is not all you get.

So I have not come here to complain. I have much to make me happy and relieved. I seem, for the time being, to be cancer-free. I am writing as well as ever. I am productive. If I were in this condition at any point before a few cosmological instants ago, I would be as isolated as a hermit. I would be trapped inside my head. Because of the rush of human knowledge, because of the digital revolution, I have a voice, and I do not need to scream."

RE: Wait. I have one more thing to add. A guy goes into a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist says, "You're crazy." The guy says, "I want a second opinion." The psychiatrist says, "All right, you're ugly."

(Laughter)

You all know the test for artificial intelligence -- the Turing test. A human judge has a conversation with a human and a computer. If the judge can't tell the machine apart from the human, the machine has passed the test. I now propose a test for computer voices -- the Ebert test. If a computer voice can successfully tell a joke and do the timing and delivery as well as Henny Youngman, then that's the voice I want.

(Applause)
 


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