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

Added 10-03-22 08:09:02am EST - “The University of Illinois (UIUC) has partnered with Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft and nonprofits on the Speech Accessibility Project..” - Engadget.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Engadget.com: “Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Meta and Google to improve speech recognition for people with disabilities | Engadget”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

The University of Illinois (UIUC) has partnered with Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft and nonprofits on the Speech Accessibility Project. The aim is to improve voice recognition for communities with disabilities and diverse speech patterns often not considered by AI algorithms. That includes people with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), Parkinson's, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other diseases that affect speech.

“Speech interfaces should be available to everybody, and that includes people with disabilities," UIUC professor Mark Hasegawa-Johnson said. "This task has been difficult because it requires a lot of infrastructure, ideally the kind that can be supported by leading technology companies, so we’ve created a uniquely interdisciplinary team with expertise in linguistics, speech, AI, security and privacy."

To include communities of people with disabilities like Parkinson's, The Speech Accessibility Project will collect speech samples from individuals representing a diversity of speech patterns. The UIUC will recruit paid volunteers to contribute voice samples and help create a "private, de-identified" dataset that can be used to train machine learning models. The group will focus on American English at the start.Turn on browser notifications to receive breaking news alerts from EngadgetYou can disable notifications at any time in your settings menu.Not nowTurn onTurned onTurn on

The Davis Phinney Foundation (Parkinson's) and Team Gleason (ALS) have pledged support for the project. "Parkinson’s affects motor symptoms, making typing difficult, so speech recognition is a critical tool for communication and expression," said The Davis Phinney Foundation's executive 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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