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AI for Social Good – Google Analysis Weblog

AI for Social Good – Google Analysis Weblog


Google’s AI for Social Good workforce consists of researchers, engineers, volunteers, and others with a shared concentrate on optimistic social affect. Our mission is to display AI’s societal profit by enabling real-world worth, with initiatives spanning work in public well being, accessibility, disaster response, local weather and vitality, and nature and society. We imagine that one of the best ways to drive optimistic change in underserved communities is by partnering with change-makers and the organizations they serve.

On this weblog put up we focus on work finished by Challenge Euphonia, a workforce inside AI for Social Good, that goals to enhance automated speech recognition (ASR) for folks with disordered speech. For folks with typical speech, an ASR mannequin’s phrase error fee (WER) will be lower than 10%. However for folks with disordered speech patterns, reminiscent of stuttering, dysarthria and apraxia, the WER may attain 50% and even 90% relying on the etiology and severity. To assist deal with this downside, we labored with greater than 1,000 members to acquire over 1,000 hours of disordered speech samples and used the info to indicate that ASR personalization is a viable avenue for bridging the efficiency hole for customers with disordered speech. We have proven that personalization will be profitable with as little as 3-4 minutes of coaching speech utilizing layer freezing strategies.

This work led to the event of Challenge Relate for anybody with atypical speech who may gain advantage from a personalised speech mannequin. In-built partnership with Google’s Speech workforce, Challenge Relate allows individuals who discover it exhausting to be understood by different folks and know-how to coach their very own fashions. Individuals can use these customized fashions to speak extra successfully and achieve extra independence. To make ASR extra accessible and usable, we describe how we fine-tuned Google’s Common Speech Mannequin (USM) to raised perceive disordered speech out of the field, with out personalization, to be used with digital assistant applied sciences, dictation apps, and in conversations.

Addressing the challenges

Working intently with Challenge Relate customers, it grew to become clear that customized fashions will be very helpful, however for a lot of customers, recording dozens or a whole bunch of examples will be difficult. As well as, the customized fashions didn’t at all times carry out properly in freeform dialog.

To deal with these challenges, Euphonia’s analysis efforts have been specializing in speaker impartial ASR (SI-ASR) to make fashions work higher out of the field for folks with disordered speech in order that no further coaching is critical.

Prompted Speech dataset for SI-ASR

Step one in constructing a sturdy SI-ASR mannequin was to create consultant dataset splits. We created the Prompted Speech dataset by splitting the Euphonia corpus into practice, validation and check parts, whereas guaranteeing that every cut up spanned a spread of speech impairment severity and underlying etiology and that no audio system or phrases appeared in a number of splits. The coaching portion consists of over 950k speech utterances from over 1,000 audio system with disordered speech. The check set comprises round 5,700 utterances from over 350 audio system. Speech-language pathologists manually reviewed all the utterances within the check set for transcription accuracy and audio high quality.

Actual Dialog check set

Unprompted or conversational speech differs from prompted speech in a number of methods. In dialog, folks converse quicker and enunciate much less. They repeat phrases, restore misspoken phrases, and use a extra expansive vocabulary that’s particular and private to themselves and their group. To enhance a mannequin for this use case, we created the Actual Dialog check set to benchmark efficiency.

The Actual Dialog check set was created with the assistance of trusted testers who recorded themselves talking throughout conversations. The audio was reviewed, any personally identifiable info (PII) was eliminated, after which that knowledge was transcribed by speech-language pathologists. The Actual Dialog check set comprises over 1,500 utterances from 29 audio system.

Adapting USM to disordered speech

We then tuned USM on the coaching cut up of the Euphonia Prompted Speech set to enhance its efficiency on disordered speech. As an alternative of fine-tuning the complete mannequin, our tuning was based mostly on residual adapters, a parameter-efficient tuning method that provides tunable bottleneck layers as residuals between the transformer layers. Solely these layers are tuned, whereas the remainder of the mannequin weights are untouched. We’ve beforehand proven that this method works very properly to adapt ASR fashions to disordered speech. Residual adapters have been solely added to the encoder layers, and the bottleneck dimension was set to 64.


To judge the tailored USM, we in contrast it to older ASR fashions utilizing the 2 check units described above. For every check, we examine tailored USM to the pre-USM mannequin finest suited to that job: (1) For brief prompted speech, we examine to Google’s manufacturing ASR mannequin optimized for brief type ASR; (2) for longer Actual Dialog speech, we examine to a mannequin skilled for lengthy type ASR. USM enhancements over pre-USM fashions will be defined by USM’s relative dimension enhance, 120M to 2B parameters, and different enhancements mentioned within the USM weblog put up.

Mannequin phrase error charges (WER) for every check set (decrease is best).

We see that the USM tailored with disordered speech considerably outperforms the opposite fashions. The tailored USM’s WER on Actual Dialog is 37% higher than the pre-USM mannequin, and on the Prompted Speech check set, the tailored USM performs 53% higher.

These findings recommend that the tailored USM is considerably extra usable for an finish person with disordered speech. We will display this enchancment by transcripts of Actual Dialog check set recordings from a trusted tester of Euphonia and Challenge Relate (see beneath).

      Floor Reality    Pre-USM ASR    Tailored USM
      I now have an Xbox adaptive controller on my lap.    i now have rather a lot and that guide on my mouth    i now had an xbox adapter controller on my lamp.
      I have been speaking for fairly some time now. Let’s examine.    fairly some time now    i have been speaking for fairly some time now.

Instance audio and transcriptions of a trusted tester’s speech from the Actual Dialog check set.

A comparability of the Pre-USM and tailored USM transcripts revealed some key benefits:

  • The primary instance reveals that Tailored USM is best at recognizing disordered speech patterns. The baseline misses key phrases like “XBox” and “controller” which are necessary for a listener to grasp what they’re making an attempt to say.
  • The second instance is an effective instance of how deletions are a major problem with ASR fashions that aren’t skilled with disordered speech. Although the baseline mannequin did transcribe a portion appropriately, a big a part of the utterance was not transcribed, shedding the speaker’s meant message.


We imagine that this work is a crucial step in direction of making speech recognition extra accessible to folks with disordered speech. We’re persevering with to work on bettering the efficiency of our fashions. With the speedy developments in ASR, we goal to make sure folks with disordered speech profit as properly.


Key contributors to this venture embrace Fadi Biadsy, Michael Brenner, Julie Cattiau, Richard Cave, Amy Chung-Yu Chou, Dotan Emanuel, Jordan Inexperienced, Rus Heywood, Pan-Pan Jiang, Anton Kast, Marilyn Ladewig, Bob MacDonald, Philip Nelson, Katie Seaver, Joel Shor, Jimmy Tobin, Katrin Tomanek, and Subhashini Venugopalan. We gratefully acknowledge the assist Challenge Euphonia obtained from members of the USM analysis workforce together with Yu Zhang, Wei Han, Nanxin Chen, and plenty of others. Most significantly, we wished to say an enormous thanks to the two,200+ members who recorded speech samples and the various advocacy teams who helped us join with these members.

1Audio quantity has been adjusted for ease of listening, however the authentic recordsdata could be extra in step with these utilized in coaching and would have pauses, silences, variable quantity, and many others. 



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