Five tech giants (Google, Apple, Meta, Amazon and Microsoft) have initiated a joint venture in collaboration with the University of Illinois to improve voice recognition and be more inclusive for those with diverse speech patterns. Eve Andersson, Google’s Senior Director, Product Inclusion, Equity, and Accessibility, announced on October 4 that they would join the initiative.
The Speech Accessibility Project aims to:
The project will be launched in English, to begin with, and eventually be expanded to various languages. This could potentially assist those facing challenges such as Lou Gehrig’s disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome.
Using samples of various vice patterns to create a dataset, which will be implemented to build a machine learning model, will better understand diverse speech patterns.
In 2019, Google created the Euphonia Project to improve voice recognition for the unconventional English language. The goal was to “reduce median word error rates by an average of more than 80 percent.” This led to the creation of an android app called Project which makes it easy for participants to upload their voice samples and understand unique speech patterns using three main features: Listen, Repeat and Assistant.
Over 2,000 participants from the Euphonia Project will now be able to participate in the Speech Accessibility Project by submitting their voice samples as a way to contribute to improving communications for all, including those with speech disabilities. For more insights on this initiative, check out Search Engine Journal’s article here.
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