You Can Listen To The First Computer Singing In 1961

Most families have a computer or two, and in some cases, multiple devices for everyone in the house. They are now normal, yet only a few decades ago, things were very different. We had computers in the 1960s, but few people had them at home. They were in laboratories and huge corporations all across the world, and many of the computers were still in the works.

This includes the IBM 7094, which was at the time housed in Bell Labs in New Jersey. The year was 1961, and the computer was poised to accomplish something unexpected. John Kelly Jr., Carol Lochbaum, and Lou Gerstman were Bell Labs engineers who were working on voice synthesis. They taught that computer, which was roughly the size of a room, to sing a song.

Max Matthews composed the music that complemented the text. Daisy Bell, also known as the Bicycle Built for Two, was the song they chose.Many folks were undoubtedly taken aback when they heard a computer singing. It may not come as a surprise today, but it felt like science fiction was coming true in 1961.Interestingly, in the film, HAL 9000, the computer from 2001:

A Space Odyssey, became emotional and began drifting backward to a lesser level of understanding. While it was being deactivated, it began singing Daisy Bell. Daisy Bell’s original 1894 image recording, complete with lyrics, is also available on YouTube. Many innovations have come from Bell Labs throughout the years, including this early speech synthesizer from 1939. Check out the following videos:

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