Improving distant speech recognition is a crucial step towards flexible human-machine interfaces. Current technology, however, still exhibits a lack of robustness, especially when adverse acoustic conditions are met. Despite the significant progress made in the last years on both speech enhancement and speech recognition, one potential limitation of state-of-the-art technology lies in composing modules that are not well matched because they are not trained jointly. To address this concern, a promising approach consists in concatenating a speech enhancement and a speech recognition deep neural network and to jointly update their parameters as if they were within a single bigger network. Unfortunately, joint training can be difficult because the output distribution of the speech enhancement system may change substantially during the optimization procedure. The speech recognition module would have to deal with an input distribution that is non-stationary and unnormalized. To mitigate this issue, we propose a joint training approach based on a fully batch-normalized architecture. Experiments, conducted using different datasets, tasks and acoustic conditions, revealed that the proposed framework significantly overtakes other competitive solutions, especially in challenging environments.
A Machine-Critical Application is a system that is fundamentally necessary to the success of specific and sensitive operations such as search and recovery, rescue, military, and emergency management actions. Recent advances in Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, voice recognition, and speech processing technologies have naturally allowed the development and deployment of speech-based conversational interfaces to interact with various machine-critical applications. While these conversational interfaces have allowed users to give voice commands to carry out strategic and critical activities, their robustness to adversarial attacks remains uncertain and unclear. Indeed, Adversarial Artificial Intelligence (AI) which refers to a set of techniques that attempt to fool machine learning models with deceptive data, is a growing threat in the AI and machine learning research community, in particular for machine-critical applications. The most common reason of adversarial attacks is to cause a malfunction in a machine learning model. An adversarial attack might entail presenting a model with inaccurate or fabricated samples as it's training data, or introducing maliciously designed data to deceive an already trained model. While focusing on speech recognition for machine-critical applications, in this paper, we first review existing speech recognition techniques, then, we investigate the effectiveness of adversarial attacks and defenses against these systems, before outlining research challenges, defense recommendations, and future work. This paper is expected to serve researchers and practitioners as a reference to help them in understanding the challenges, position themselves and, ultimately, help them to improve existing models of speech recognition for mission-critical applications. Keywords: Mission-Critical Applications, Adversarial AI, Speech Recognition Systems.
Deep neural network models for speech recognition have achieved great success recently, but they can learn incorrect associations between the target and nuisance factors of speech (e.g., speaker identities, background noise, etc.), which can lead to overfitting. While several methods have been proposed to tackle this problem, existing methods incorporate additional information about nuisance factors during training to develop invariant models. However, enumeration of all possible nuisance factors in speech data and the collection of their annotations is difficult and expensive. We present a robust training scheme for end-to-end speech recognition that adopts an unsupervised adversarial invariance induction framework to separate out essential factors for speech-recognition from nuisances without using any supplementary labels besides the transcriptions. Experiments show that the speech recognition model trained with the proposed training scheme achieves relative improvements of 5.48% on WSJ0, 6.16% on CHiME3, and 6.61% on TIMIT dataset over the base model. Additionally, the proposed method achieves a relative improvement of 14.44% on the combined WSJ0+CHiME3 dataset.
With recent advances in deep learning, considerable attention has been given to achieving automatic speech recognition performance close to human performance on tasks like conversational telephone speech (CTS) recognition. In this paper we evaluate the usefulness of these proposed techniques on broadcast news (BN), a similar challenging task. We also perform a set of recognition measurements to understand how close the achieved automatic speech recognition results are to human performance on this task. On two publicly available BN test sets, DEV04F and RT04, our speech recognition system using LSTM and residual network based acoustic models with a combination of n-gram and neural network language models performs at 6.5% and 5.9% word error rate. By achieving new performance milestones on these test sets, our experiments show that techniques developed on other related tasks, like CTS, can be transferred to achieve similar performance. In contrast, the best measured human recognition performance on these test sets is much lower, at 3.6% and 2.8% respectively, indicating that there is still room for new techniques and improvements in this space, to reach human performance levels.
End-to-end speech recognition systems usually require huge amounts of labeling resource, while annotating the speech data is complicated and expensive. Active learning is the solution by selecting the most valuable samples for annotation. In this paper, we proposed to use a predicted loss that estimates the uncertainty of the sample. The CTC (Connectionist Temporal Classification) and attention loss are informative for speech recognition since they are computed based on all decoding paths and alignments. We defined an end-to-end active learning pipeline, training an ASR/LP (Automatic Speech Recognition/Loss Prediction) joint model. The proposed approach was validated on an English and a Chinese speech recognition task. The experiments show that our approach achieves competitive results, outperforming random selection, least confidence, and estimated loss method.
This paper presents our latest investigations on improving automatic speech recognition for noisy speech via speech enhancement. We propose a novel method named Multi-discriminators CycleGAN to reduce noise of input speech and therefore improve the automatic speech recognition performance. Our proposed method leverages the CycleGAN framework for speech enhancement without any parallel data and improve it by introducing multiple discriminators that check different frequency areas. Furthermore, we show that training multiple generators on homogeneous subset of the training data is better than training one generator on all the training data. We evaluate our method on CHiME-3 data set and observe up to 10.03% relatively WER improvement on the development set and up to 14.09% on the evaluation set.
Recently, speech recognition with ad-hoc microphone arrays has received much attention. It is known that channel selection is an important problem of ad-hoc microphone arrays, however, this topic seems far from explored in speech recognition yet, particularly with a large-scale ad-hoc microphone array. To address this problem, we propose a Scaling Sparsemax algorithm for the channel selection problem of the speech recognition with large-scale ad-hoc microphone arrays. Specifically, we first replace the conventional Softmax operator in the stream attention mechanism of a multichannel end-to-end speech recognition system with Sparsemax, which conducts channel selection by forcing the channel weights of noisy channels to zero. Because Sparsemax punishes the weights of many channels to zero harshly, we propose Scaling Sparsemax which punishes the channels mildly by setting the weights of very noisy channels to zero only. Experimental results with ad-hoc microphone arrays of over 30 channels under the conformer speech recognition architecture show that the proposed Scaling Sparsemax yields a word error rate of over 30% lower than Softmax on simulation data sets, and over 20% lower on semi-real data sets, in test scenarios with both matched and mismatched channel numbers.
Speech recognition systems have improved dramatically over the last few years, however, their performance is significantly degraded for the cases of accented or impaired speech. This work explores domain adversarial neural networks (DANN) for speaker-independent speech recognition on the UAS dataset of dysarthric speech. The classification task on 10 spoken digits is performed using an end-to-end CNN taking raw audio as input. The results are compared to a speaker-adaptive (SA) model as well as speaker-dependent (SD) and multi-task learning models (MTL). The experiments conducted in this paper show that DANN achieves an absolute recognition rate of 74.91% and outperforms the baseline by 12.18%. Additionally, the DANN model achieves comparable results to the SA model's recognition rate of 77.65%. We also observe that when labelled dysarthric speech data is available DANN and MTL perform similarly, but when they are not DANN performs better than MTL.
Speech recognition based on the syllable segment is discussed in this paper. The principal search methods in space of states for the speech recognition problem by segment-syllabic parameters trajectory synthesis are investigated. Recognition as comparison the parameters trajectories in chosen speech units on the sections of the segmented speech is realized. Some experimental results are given and discussed.
Language is inherent and compulsory for human communication. Whether expressed in a written or spoken way, it ensures understanding between people of the same and different regions. With the growing awareness and effort to include more low-resourced languages in NLP research, African languages have recently been a major subject of research in machine translation, and other text-based areas of NLP. However, there is still very little comparable research in speech recognition for African languages. Interestingly, some of the unique properties of African languages affecting NLP, like their diacritical and tonal complexities, have a major root in their speech, suggesting that careful speech interpretation could provide more intuition on how to deal with the linguistic complexities of African languages for text-based NLP. OkwuGb\'e is a step towards building speech recognition systems for African low-resourced languages. Using Fon and Igbo as our case study, we conduct a comprehensive linguistic analysis of each language and describe the creation of end-to-end, deep neural network-based speech recognition models for both languages. We present a state-of-art ASR model for Fon, as well as benchmark ASR model results for Igbo. Our linguistic analyses (for Fon and Igbo) provide valuable insights and guidance into the creation of speech recognition models for other African low-resourced languages, as well as guide future NLP research for Fon and Igbo. The Fon and Igbo models source code have been made publicly available.