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Jimmy Tobin

Jimmy Tobin

Jimmy Tobin is a researcher and software engineer focusing on using ML to improve accessibility. He got his BS and MA at Stanford focused on audio, ML and perception.
Authored Publications
Google Publications
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    Large Language Models as a Proxy For Human Evaluation in Assessing the Comprehensibility of Disordered Speech Transcription
    Subhashini Venugopalan
    Richard Cave
    Katie Seaver
    Jordan Green
    Rus Heywood
    Proceedings of ICASSP, IEEE (2024)
    Preview abstract Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) systems, despite significant advances in recent years, still have much room for improvement particularly in the recognition of disordered speech. Even so, erroneous transcripts from ASR models can help people with disordered speech be better understood, especially if the transcription doesn’t significantly change the intended meaning. Evaluating the efficacy of ASR for this use case requires a methodology for measuring the impact of transcription errors on the intended meaning and comprehensibility. Human evaluation is the gold standard for this, but it can be laborious, slow, and expensive. In this work, we tune and evaluate large language models for this task and find them to be a much better proxy for human evaluators than other metrics commonly used. We further present a case-study using the presented approach to assess the quality of personalized ASR models to make model deployment decisions and correctly set user expectations for model quality as part of our trusted tester program. View details
    Automatic Speech Recognition of Conversational Speech in Individuals with Disordered Speech
    Bob MacDonald
    Rus Heywood
    Richard Cave
    Katie Seaver
    Antoine Desjardins
    Jordan Green
    Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (2024) (to appear)
    Preview abstract Purpose: This study examines the effectiveness of automatic speech recognition (ASR) for individuals with speech disorders, addressing the gap in performance between read and conversational ASR. We analyze the factors influencing this disparity and the effect of speech mode-specific training on ASR accuracy. Method: Recordings of read and conversational speech from 27 individuals with various speech disorders were analyzed using both (1) one speaker-independent ASR system trained and optimized for typical speech and (2) multiple ASR models that were personalized to the speech of the participants with disordered speech. Word Error Rates (WERs) were calculated for each speech mode, read vs conversational, and subject. Linear mixed-effect models were used to assess the impact of speech mode and disorder severity on ASR accuracy. We investigated nine variables, classified as technical, linguistic, or speech impairment factors, for their potential influence on the performance gap. Results: We found a significant performance gap between read and conversational speech in both personalized and unadapted ASR models. Speech impairment severity notably impacted recognition accuracy in unadapted models for both speech modes and in personalized models for read speech. Linguistic attributes of utterances were the most influential on accuracy, though atypical speech characteristics also played a role. Including conversational speech samples in model training notably improved recognition accuracy. Conclusions: We observed a significant performance gap in ASR accuracy between read and conversational speech for individuals with speech disorders. This gap was largely due to the linguistic complexity and unique characteristics of speech disorders in conversational speech. Training personalized ASR models using conversational speech significantly improved recognition accuracy, demonstrating the importance of domain-specific training and highlighting the need for further research into ASR systems capable of handling disordered conversational speech effectively. View details
    Speech Intelligibility Classifiers from 550k Disordered Speech Samples
    Subhashini Venugopalan
    Katie Seaver
    Richard Cave
    Neil Zeghidour
    Rus Heywood
    Jordan Green
    ICASSP, Icassp submission. 2022 (2023)
    Preview abstract We developed dysarthric speech intelligibility classifiers on 551,176 disordered speech samples contributed by a diverse set of 468 speakers, with a range of self-reported speaking disorders and rated for their overall intelligibility on a fivepoint scale. We trained three models following different deep learning approaches and evaluated them on ∼94K utterances from 100 speakers. We further found the models to generalize well (without further training) on the TORGO database (100% accuracy), UASpeech (0.93 correlation), ALS-TDI PMP (0.81 AUC) datasets as well as on a dataset of realistic unprompted speech we gathered (106 dysarthric and 76 control speakers, ∼2300 samples). View details
    Preview abstract This study investigates the performance of personalized automatic speech recognition (ASR) for recognizing disordered speech using small amounts of per-speaker adaptation data. We trained personalized models for 195 individuals with different types and severities of speech impairment with training sets ranging in size from <1 minute to 18-20 minutes of speech data. Word error rate (WER) thresholds were selected to determine success rates (the percentage of personalized models reaching the target WER) in different application scenarios. For the home automation scenario, 79% of speakers reached the target WER with 18-20 minutes of speech; but even with only 3-4 minutes of speech, 63% of speakers reached the target WER. Further evaluation found similar improvement on test sets with out-of-domain, unprompted phrases. Our results demonstrate that with only a few minutes of recordings, individuals with disordered speech could benefit from personalized ASR. View details
    Assessing ASR Model Quality on Disordered Speech using BERTScore
    Qisheng Li
    Subhashini Venugopalan
    Katie Seaver
    Richard Jonathan Noel Cave
    Proc. 1st Workshop on Speech for Social Good (S4SG) (2022), pp. 26-30 (to appear)
    Preview abstract Word Error Rate (WER) is the primary metric used to assess automatic speech recognition (ASR) model quality. It has been shown that ASR models tend to have much higher WER on speakers with speech impairments than typical English speakers. It is hard to determine if models can be be useful at such high error rates. This study investigates the use of BERTScore, an evaluation metric for text generation, to provide a more informative measure of ASR model quality and usefulness. Both BERTScore and WER were compared to prediction errors manually annotated by Speech Language Pathologists for error type and assessment. BERTScore was found to be more correlated with human assessment of error type and assessment. BERTScore was specifically more robust to orthographic changes (contraction and normalization errors) where meaning was preserved. Furthermore, BERTScore was a better fit of error assessment than WER, as measured using an ordinal logistic regression and the Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC). Overall, our findings suggest that BERTScore can complement WER when assessing ASR model performance from a practical perspective, especially for accessibility applications where models are useful even at lower accuracy than for typical speech. View details
    Preview abstract Speech samples from over 1000 individuals with impaired speech have been submitted for Project Euphonia, aimed at improving automated speech recognition for atypical speech. We provide an update on the contents of the corpus, which recently passed 1 million utterances, and review key lessons learned from this project. The reasoning behind decisions such as phrase set composition, prompted vs extemporaneous speech, metadata and data quality efforts are explained based on findings from both technical and user-facing research. View details
    Preview abstract Automatic classification of disordered speech can provide an objective tool for identifying the presence and severity of a speech impairment. Classification approaches can also help identify hard-to-recognize speech samples to teach ASR systems about the variable manifestations of impaired speech. Here, we develop and compare different deep learning techniques to classify the intelligibility of disordered speech on selected phrases. We collected samples from a diverse set of 661 speakers with a variety of self-reported disorders speaking 29 words or phrases, which were rated by speech-language pathologists for their overall intelligibility using a five-point Likert scale. We then evaluated classifiers developed using 3 approaches: (1) a convolutional neural network (CNN) trained for the task, (2) classifiers trained on non-semantic speech representations from CNNs that used an unsupervised objective [1], and (3) classifiers trained on the acoustic (encoder) embeddings from an ASR system trained on typical speech [2]. We find that the ASR encoder’s embeddings considerably outperform the other two on detecting and classifying disordered speech. Further analysis shows that the ASR embeddings cluster speech by the spoken phrase, while the non-semantic embeddings cluster speech by speaker. Also, longer phrases are more indicative of intelligibility deficits than single words. View details
    Preview abstract Objective. This study aimed to (1) evaluate the performance of personalized Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) models on disordered speech samples representing a wide range of etiologies and speech severities, and (2) compare the accuracy of these models to that of speaker-independent ASR models developed on and for typical speech as well as expert human listeners. Methods. 432 individuals with self-reported disordered speech recorded at least 300 short phrases using a web-based application. Word error rates (WER) were computed using three different ASR models and expert human transcribers. Metadata were collected to evaluate the potential impact of participant, atypical speech, and technical factors on recognition accuracy. Results. The accuracy of personalized models for recognizing disordered speech was high (WER: 4.6%), and significantly better than speaker-independent models (WER: 31%). Personalized models also outperformed human transcribers (WER gain: 9%) with relative gains in accuracy as high as 80%. The most significant gain in recognition performance was for the most severely affected speakers. Low SNR and fewer training utterances adversely affected recognition even for speakers with mild speech impairments. Conclusions. Personalized ASR models have significant potential for improving communication for persons with impaired speech. View details
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