Technology

Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Meta and Google to improve speech recognition for people with disabilities

The University of Illinois (UIUC) has partnered with Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft and nonprofits on the Speech Accessibility Project. The goal is to improve voice recognition for communities with disabilities and various speech patterns usually not thought of by AI algorithms. That consists of people with Lou Gehrig’s illness (ALS), Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and different ailments that have an effect on speech.

“Speech interfaces needs to be obtainable to all people, and that features people with disabilities,” UIUC professor Mark Hasegawa-Johnson said. “This job has been troublesome as a result of it requires a variety of infrastructure, ideally the type that may be supported by main technology firms, so we’ve created a uniquely interdisciplinary workforce with experience in linguistics, speech, AI, safety and privateness.”

To embody communities of people with disabilities like Parkinson’s, The Speech Accessibility Project will accumulate speech samples from people representing a variety of speech patterns. The UIUC will recruit paid volunteers to contribute voice samples and assist create a “private, de-identified” dataset that can be utilized to prepare machine studying fashions. The group will concentrate on American English initially.

The Davis Phinney Foundation (Parkinson’s) and Team Gleason (ALS) have pledged help for the project. “Parkinson’s affects motor symptoms, making typing difficult, so speech recognition is a critical tool for communication and expression,” stated The Davis Phinney Foundation’s government director, Polly Dawkins. “Part of [our] commitment includes ensuring people with Parkinson’s have access to the tools, technologies, and resources needed to live their best lives.”

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