Who knew that a silly comic strip could be so influential? XKCD’s strip focusing on the inanity of YouTube comments inspired someone to actually add the Audio Preview feature to YouTube. It’s provided us with much amusement, especially where one commenter mentions that the “preview of my own post sounded moronic!”
Speech synthesis software is nothing new, of course. While it’s not the most sophisticated software, it’s an invaluable resource to those with disabilities, language learners, and others. This tutorial on Festival, a Linux-based text-to-speech software framework, would be a great place to start. You’re just moments away from finding out how stupid email, IM, and IRC sound read aloud.