voice recognition graphicECE Professor Nihar Mahapatra is the PI on a new $750k NSF Convergence Accelerator grant to investigate the experiences of people who stutter while interacting with automatic speech recognition systems (ASRs) and voice activated artificial intelligence (AI) systems. The multidisciplinary project team includes J. Scott Yaruss and Caryn Herring of MSU’s Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Ann Marie Ryan from MSU's Department of Psychology, and Hope Gerlach-Houck, from Western Michigan Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. Their project aims to resolve limitations in voice technology by developing and implementing policy-, advocacy-, and AI-based solutions to make voice technology accessible and fair to people who stutter. The project will contribute to advancing knowledge through development of inclusive training and test datasets as well as annotation for accessible automatic speech recognition (ASR) and development of novel ASR deep learning models. Proposed research studies will establish a convergent and holistic understanding of how the nature and experience of stuttering impacts and intersects with AI accessibility and fairness in voice-activated technology, identify barriers and facilitators of access to existing voice-activated AI among people who stutter, and evaluate the effectiveness of guidelines and audit tools.

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