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Alexa and Google Assistant are 30% less likely to understand non-American accents



Can not understand your Amazon Echo or Google Home Smart Speaker? It could be your accent. Two research groups recruited by the Washington Post found that Amazon's Alexa Assistant and Google Assistant performed poorly in certain dialects.

They tested thousands of voice commands dictated by more than 100 people in 20 cities That was conclusive: Google and Amazon spokespeople were 30 percent less inclined to understand non-American accents than native users, and the overall accuracy rate for Chinese, Indian and Spanish accents was about 80 percent. (The researchers stayed with Alexa and the Google Assistant and decided not to test other language assistants like Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana.)

It points to clear evidence of bias in the training data for the two speech recognition systems Rachael Tatman " These [voice assistants] will work best for white, well-educated upper middle-class Americans, probably from the West Coast, because that's the case, "said a Kaggle Data Scientist with experience in speech recognition from the Washington Post group, from the beginning

There is Evidence That This May Be True.

People who spoke Spanish as the first language were misinterpreted six percent more often than people from the West Coast, Google Home speakers were three percent less likely to catch people with southern accents adequately respond as such with western accents. And Amazon Echo devices performed two percent worse with Midwest flexions.

Globalme, a Vancouver-based voice localization company that contributed to the studies, ran Alexa and the Google Assistant through a gauntlet of 70 pre-set commands, such as "Add a new appointment" and "How close am I to the next Walmart?" It turned out that Amazon's Southern and Eastern accent assistants got along better, while Google found it easier to understand people from the Midwest and West.

An Amazon spokesman told The Washington Post that Alexa's speech recognition is constantly improving over time as more and more users speak with different accents. And Google has committed to a statement "to further improve Google Assistant speech recognition as we expand our records."

The results are not exactly earth-shattering ̵

1; linguistic differences in pronunciation have torn algorithms back and forth over years. (A recent study found that YouTube's automatic subtitling scores worse on Scottish speakers than US Southerners.) But they highlighted the challenges that smart-speaker OEMs who sold millions of units have yet to overcome.

New studies can hold the key. Just this week, researchers from Cisco, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and the Higher School of Economics have proposed a system that uses the dialectic difference in diction and intonation to create new accented word samples that he has come to notice [19659011]

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