Google Wants People With Down Syndrome to Help Improve Voice Recognition

Google has been working on improving its services, making them accessible to people with certain impairments. The Alphabet-owned search engine giant has asked people with Down syndrome (DS) to submit voice recordings in its latest endeavor to increase accessibility.

This is in order to train its voice-recognition AI to understand unique speech patterns. Currently, Google’s aim is to get at least 500 voice recording donations from people with DS.

Voice computing is considered the future of technology, however, it can be slightly inconvenient for people with mental and physical disabilities. In order to remedy that, Google has partnered with the Canadian Down Syndrome Society so that it can acquire voice recordings from hundreds of people.

Google engineer Jimmy Tobin, while introducing the project, said,

Out of the box, Google’s speech recognizer would not recognize every third word for a person with Down syndrome, and that makes the technology not very usable.

The company is also urging people with DS around the world to send in their voice recordings.

According to Matt MacNeil, who is a DS patient working with Google on Project Understood, voice assistants can help them live independently via AI-driven scheduling, reminders, and lifestyle tools. He said,

When I started doing the project, the first thing that came to my mind is really helping more people be independent.