Hear the groundbreaking “Computer Speech” record from Bell Telephone Laboratories, which features synthesized speech created by one of the earliest computer speech synthesis systems. Directed by D.H. VanLenten, this record represents a significant milestone in the development of speech synthesis technology. … You’ll also discover how punched cards were used to provide the computer with detailed instructions on how to manipulate the various formants to produce different sounds [and] explore the fascinating technique called formant synthesis, which involves simulating the resonances of the human vocal tract, and the IBM 704 computer used to generate the speech sounds.
Incidentally, this record predates Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey by four years, and came out at least a year before he began considering the project in earnest. We know that his work in 2001 was influenced by educational materials from the time; hard to believe this wasn’t one of them.
Anyway, just for the record: this “talking computer” was exactly as intelligent as ChatGPT or any current AI, and considerably less so than a parrot—and inspired the same blue-sky certainty in the media. Hell, here’s an article about computers talking and reliably taking natural-language instruction within the next decade!!! (It was written in 1959.):