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"I think we could solve our problems more easily through strength of character; but that's always been a commodity in extremely short supply."
- Gregory Benford

House Voice  
  A house-based system that mediates technologies (like phone) with a verbal interface directed to the inhabitants of the house.  

Now here's a customizable interface; no tinkering with "preferences" files for Angela.

"Angela," the House said, it's voice quiet but compelling, "I have a call from Hilton Swift."

"Executive override?" She was eating baked beans and toast at the kitchen counter.

"No," it said, confidingly.

"Change your tone," she said, around a mouthful of beans. "Something with an edge of anxiety."

"Mr. Swift is waiting," the House said nervously.

"Better," she said, carrying bowl and played to the washer, "but I want something closer to genuine hysteria."

"Will you take the call?" The voice was choked with tension.

"No," she said, "but keep your voice that way, I like it."

From Mona Lisa Overdrive, by William Gibson.
Published by Bantam in 1988
Additional resources -

Clearly, this house voice is a long way from the uninflected artificial speech of today.

Note the differences between this scene in the interaction between the human character and the machine "servant" and a very similar exchange between Jorj X. McKie and the Daily Schedule in The Dosadi Experiment.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Mona Lisa Overdrive
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to Mona Lisa Overdrive
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

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