Open Source Insider

Dec 4 2017   11:43AM GMT

Mozilla talks up speech-to-text application platform

Adrian Bridgwater Adrian Bridgwater Profile: Adrian Bridgwater

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mozilla

Mozilla is on a mission… and it’s a mission designed to ‘empower’ software application developers with tools to help create more STT apps.

STT you say?

Yes, that would be speech-to-text applications.

More specifically, STT apps typically depend upon voice recognition and deep [machine] learning algorithms, the kind of functionality that is not always available to every coder in every environment… but Mozillla wants to address that fact with a little democratisation.

“There are only a few commercial quality speech recognition services available, dominated by a small number of large companies. This reduces user choice and available features for startups, researchers or even larger companies that want to speech-enable their products and services,” Sean White, vice president of technology strategy at Mozilla.

This then is DeepSpeech from Mozilla.

The firm has also noted that it is releasing the world’s second largest publicly available voice dataset, which was contributed to by nearly 20,000 people.

The initial release of DeepSpeech, sees the company include pre-built packages for Python, NodeJS and a command-line binary that developers can use right away to experiment with speech recognition.

Sexist speech tools

Mozilla laments the fact that too often existing speech recognition services can’t understand people with different accents…  and many are better at understanding men than women.

This, the company says, is a result of biases within the data on which they are trained.

“Our hope is that the number of speakers and their different backgrounds and accents will create a globally representative dataset, resulting in more inclusive technologies,” said Mozilla’s White.

Mozilla insists that its approach to developing this technology is open by design and so the firm welcomes more collaborators and contributors.

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