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Siri and Alexa will recognize people with speech impairments

Siri and Alexa will recognize people with speech impairments

Being able to communicate is a founding element, it is the basis of every relationship, it is the means through which relationships are established, it is sharing something with an interlocutor. Most aspects of life involve the communication with others and being understood.

Every day we are used to using voice commands to interact with digital assistants, such as Siri and Alexa, and above all we take it for granted that everyone can do it. Yet there are many people who cannot because they live with speech disorders. The extreme difficulty and frustration that comes from realizing that the people, and the technologies, that surround you are unable to understand the way you speak or express yourself, can coincide with a complex reality and with living with speech disorders caused from different neurological conditions.

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L’accessibility and theinclusiveness they are fundamental and should be a priority for digital businesses. People with hearing, visual, speech, motor and cognitive impairments should be included in the technological process. Voice assistants often fail to understand people with dysarthria or stuttering. For this reason, more complex algorithms are being developed that will allow virtual assistantssuch as Siri and Alexa, of recognize words pronounced slowly or unclearly. Google, for example, in 2019 it launched Project Euphonia to help make the user interface more accessible to people with speech impairments: “The Euphonia project is a research on artificial intelligence from Google that seeks to help users with speech impairments to communicate faster and gain independence” .

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Siri and Alexa will recognize people with speech impairments

The Euphonia project team is using AI to improve the ability of computers to better understand requests; purpose of the project is detect different language patternscollaborate with non-profit organizations, such as ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) and ALS Residence Initiative (ALSRI), to record the voices of people with ALS, learn about the communication needs of people with disabilities and language disorders, and work to the optimization of algorithms based on artificial intelligence so that smartphones and computers can more reliably transcribe spoken words.

Also Amazon announced a collaboration with the startup Voiceitt, an Israeli startup, which allows people with speech impairments to train an algorithm to recognize their speech patterns. The integration, scheduled for the next few months, will allow people with speech impairments to use Alexa devices by speaking into the Voiceitt application.

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Google is one of several tech companies looking to train voice assistants that everyone can access. Google’s Euphonia project initiative is testing an app prototype that allows people with a speech disorder to communicate with theGoogle Assistant and the products of Google Home, training software to understand their dialectical models.

Accessibility and inclusiveness are key and should be a priority for tech companies

Apple claimed that its function Hold to Talk, introduced on portable devices in 2015, already allows users to control how long they want the Siri voice assistant to listen, preventing the assistant from interrupting users who are stuttering before they are finished speaking. The Cupertino company, to support this technology in an ever wider way, is extracting audio samples from Apple Podcasts which will help Siri understand more types of speech.

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According to a Wall Street Journal report, Apple has created a bank of 28,000 audio clips from podcasts featuring people who stutter, so it can use this data to train “Siri.” The people who work invoice accessibility they claim that technology has only recently become sophisticated enough to attempt to handle the complexities of non-standard language. Many tech companies weren’t placing that much emphasis on inclusive design when the first voice assistants were built. The training of voice assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant could improve thevoice recognition experience for many people, including the elderly with degenerative diseases. Many people, with different lives and different daily lives, risk being left behind by the technology of assistance and voice recognition; also for this reason the technology companies, including Apple and Googlethey are working to improve their digital assistants.

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When large companies like Google and Apple give voice to people with disabilities in designing thearchitecture and technologies of the future, it is extremely significant and relevant for everyone; is a process that automatically leads to having more confidence in the future and in the era ofartificial intelligence.