Title: My voice matters – extending high-performance speech interfaces to the widest possible audience
Description: The performance of speech interfaces continues to improve at pace, with users now able to engage with technology such as Google Duplex to automatically book a restaurant. A person’s ability to enter a world full of speech-interface driven technology depends directly on whether that technology works well for their own speech. Many users, such as those with speech impediments, the elderly, young children, and non-native speakers can become excluded. This PhD will explore ways to improve performance in speech interfaces for marginalised users. A fundamental understanding of how speech from these users is different gives us the best opportunity to guide deep-learning systems to solutions that serve a wider range of speakers. We need to discover what, and how, DNNs learn from speech, and leverage this to develop models with a greater ability to understand less-encountered speaking styles. This PhD will contribute fundamental ideas both in speech understanding, and in interpretable and adaptable AI. This PhD will be aligned with the sponsorship by Sonas Innovation (http://sonasi.com) of D-REAL PhDs, and will also benefit from research ongoing within the SFI ADAPT Research Centre and the Sigmedia Research Group at TCD.