Now You're Talking (Hardcover)

Human Conversation from the Neanderthals to Artificial Intelligence

By Trevor Cox

Counterpoint LLC, 9781640090798, 320pp.

Publication Date: September 18, 2018

List Price: 26.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A history of how humans developed our capacity for conversation--and what might happen now that computers are catching up

Trevor Cox has been described by The Observer as "a David Attenborough of the acoustic realm." In Now You're Talking, he takes us on a journey through the wonders of human speech, starting with the evolution of language and our biological capability to speak (and listen), and bringing us up to date with the latest computer technology.

Language is what makes us human, and how we speak is integral to our personal identity. But with the invention of sound recording and the arrival of the electrified voice, human communication changed forever; now advances in computer science and artificial intelligence are promising an even greater transformation. And with it come the possibilities to reproduce, manipulate, and replicate the human voice--sometimes with disturbing consequences.

Now You're Talking is the fascinating story of our ability to converse. It takes us back to the core of our humanity, asking important questions about what makes us human and how this uniqueness might be threatened. On this illuminating tour we meet vocal coaches and record producers, neuroscientists and computer programmers, whose experience and research provide us with a deeper understanding of something that most of us take for granted--our ability to talk and listen.

About the Author

TREVOR COX is a professor of acoustic engineering at the University of Salford, U.K., and a former president of the Institute of Acoustics. He has presented twenty-four science documentaries on BBC Radio and written feature articles for New Scientist, Sound on Sound, and The Guardian. He is the author of The Sound Book, winner of an Acoustical Society of America writing award. He was awarded the Institute of Acoustics' Tyndall Medal and the Institute of Acoustics' Award for Promoting Acoustics to the Public. He currently holds the Guinness World Record for producing the longest echo in one of the Inchindown Oil Tanks.

Praise For Now You're Talking: Human Conversation from the Neanderthals to Artificial Intelligence

Praise for The Sound Book

"A riveting ear-opener, Trevor Cox describes in lyrical detail a range of sonic events and new ways of listening that can only brighten our experience of the acoustic world around us. A must-read for sound-lovers of all stripes." —Bernie Krause, author of The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places

"Cox reminds us not only of the sonic marvels we often miss, but also how those sounds affect us." —Publishers Weekly

"This small encyclopedia of strange sounds reveals how much art there is in the act of listening. Reading it made my ears more mindful." —Adam Gopnik

"A technological travelogue conducted by an expert tour guide, bursting with aural arcana that adds just the right amount of tech-savvy detail, The Sound Book brings into relief a world often obscured in our image-heavy existence. Even as we follow Cox to the ends of the Earth, what makes his book a real rush is that it's ultimately an ear-buzzing journey to the center of our minds." —Greg Milner, Perfecting Sound Forever

"An intriguing tour d'horizon of the world of sound." —Kirkus Reviews

"Turns up the volume on…sonic oddities." —NPR

"[A] mission to make sound tourism the next big thing." —Gemma Tarlach, Discover

"From its first page to its last, The Sound Book invites readers to close their eyes and open their ears to the sounds, both normal and peculiar, that surround us all." —Science News

"Charming… From its first page to its last, The Sound Book invites readers to close their eyes and open their ears to the sounds, both normal and peculiar, that surround us all." —Sid Perkins, Science News Magazine