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Odette Scharenborg

  • Automatic speech recognition (ASRs)
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Bias of state-of-the-art ASRs against gender, age, and accents
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Diversity and inclusion

Keynote lecture

Odette Scharenborg - 'Towards inclusive automatic speech recognition'

Automatic speech recognition (ASR) is increasingly used, e.g., in emergency response centers, domestic voice assistants, and search engines. Because of the paramount relevance spoken language plays in our lives, it is critical that ASR systems are able to deal with the variability in the way people speak (e.g., due to speaker differences, demographics, different speaking styles, and differently abled users). ASR systems promise to deliver objective interpretation of human speech.

Practice and recent evidence however suggests that the state-of-the-art SotA ASRs struggle with the large variation in speech due to e.g., gender, age, speech impairment, race, and accents. The overarching goal in our project is to uncover bias in ASR systems to work towards proactive bias mitigation in ASR.

In this talk, I will present systematic experiments aimed at quantifying, identifying the origin of, and mitigating the bias of state-of-the-art ASRs on speech from different, typically low-resource, groups of speakers, with a focus on bias against gender, age, regional accents and non-native accents.


Odette Scharenborg

Odette Scharenborg is an Associate Professor and Delft Technology Fellow at Delft University of Technology. She has an interdisciplinary background in automatic speech recognition and psycholinguistics, and uses knowledge from how humans process speech to develop inclusive automatic speech recognition systems that are able to recognise speech from everyone, irrespective of how they speak or the language they speak.

Since 2017, she is on the Board of the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA), where she currently serves as Vice-President. From 2018-2021, she was on the IEEE Speech and Language Processing Technical Committee. Since 2018, she is a Senior Associate Editor of IEEE Signal Processing Letters. In 2025, she will be the General Chair of Interspeech Rotterdam.

Odette is an active proponent of diversity and inclusion and is involved in many national and international initiatives to promote diversity, gender equality, and inclusion.

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