This is how automatic speech recognition learns from humans

Can computers get as good at recognising speech as humans? Odette Scharenborg (EEMCS) hopes so. She is using different techniques to improve automatic speech recognition.

Odette Scharenborg conducting an experiment. (Screenshot: TU Delft TV)

Did you know humans are way better at recognising speech than computers? That’s because current speech recognition systems are only created for people with ‘normal’ voices and for about 2% of the languages in the world, explains Associate Professor Odette Scharenborg (Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science).

Scharenborg works at the TU Delft speech recognition lab where she looks at how humans process speech and adapt to non-normal speech. By doing this, she hopes to find out whether it is possible to replicate the same type of flexibility to automated speech recognition systems (ASR). ASR systems automatically transform a speech signal into a written transcript. This technology is extensively used in mobile phones and laptops for a range of different tasks. Think of asking Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, to play a song on Spotify without you opening the application.

  • TU Delft TV visited the TU Delft speech recognition lab. You can watch the short documentary below.