New Datasets to Democratize Speech Recognition Technology


The next wave of AI will be powered by the democratization of data. Open-source frameworks such as TensorFlow and Pytorch have brought machine learning to a huge developer base, but most state-of-the-art models still rely on training datasets which are either wholly proprietary or prohibitively expensive to license [1]. As a result, the best automated speech recognition (ASR) models for converting speech audio into text are only available commercially, and are trained on data unavailable to the general public. Furthermore, only widely-spoken languages receive industry attention due to market incentives, limiting the availability of cutting-edge speech technology to English and a handful of other languages. The first is prohibitive licensing: Several free datasets do exist, but most of sufficient size and quality to make models truly shine are barred from commercial use. As a response, we created The People's Speech, a massive English-language dataset of audio transcriptions of full sentences (see Sample 1).

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