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"speech": models, code, and papers

On Using Backpropagation for Speech Texture Generation and Voice Conversion

Mar 08, 2018
Jan Chorowski, Ron J. Weiss, Rif A. Saurous, Samy Bengio

Inspired by recent work on neural network image generation which rely on backpropagation towards the network inputs, we present a proof-of-concept system for speech texture synthesis and voice conversion based on two mechanisms: approximate inversion of the representation learned by a speech recognition neural network, and on matching statistics of neuron activations between different source and target utterances. Similar to image texture synthesis and neural style transfer, the system works by optimizing a cost function with respect to the input waveform samples. To this end we use a differentiable mel-filterbank feature extraction pipeline and train a convolutional CTC speech recognition network. Our system is able to extract speaker characteristics from very limited amounts of target speaker data, as little as a few seconds, and can be used to generate realistic speech babble or reconstruct an utterance in a different voice.

* Accepted to ICASSP 2018 

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Speaker activity driven neural speech extraction

Feb 09, 2021
Marc Delcroix, Katerina Zmolikova, Tsubasa Ochiai, Keisuke Kinoshita, Tomohiro Nakatani

Target speech extraction, which extracts the speech of a target speaker in a mixture given auxiliary speaker clues, has recently received increased interest. Various clues have been investigated such as pre-recorded enrollment utterances, direction information, or video of the target speaker. In this paper, we explore the use of speaker activity information as an auxiliary clue for single-channel neural network-based speech extraction. We propose a speaker activity driven speech extraction neural network (ADEnet) and show that it can achieve performance levels competitive with enrollment-based approaches, without the need for pre-recordings. We further demonstrate the potential of the proposed approach for processing meeting-like recordings, where the speaker activity is obtained from a diarization system. We show that this simple yet practical approach can successfully extract speakers after diarization, which results in improved ASR performance, especially in high overlapping conditions, with a relative word error rate reduction of up to 25%.

* To appear in ICASSP 2021 

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Wav2Pix: Speech-conditioned Face Generation using Generative Adversarial Networks

Mar 25, 2019
Amanda Duarte, Francisco Roldan, Miquel Tubau, Janna Escur, Santiago Pascual, Amaia Salvador, Eva Mohedano, Kevin McGuinness, Jordi Torres, Xavier Giro-i-Nieto

Speech is a rich biometric signal that contains information about the identity, gender and emotional state of the speaker. In this work, we explore its potential to generate face images of a speaker by conditioning a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) with raw speech input. We propose a deep neural network that is trained from scratch in an end-to-end fashion, generating a face directly from the raw speech waveform without any additional identity information (e.g reference image or one-hot encoding). Our model is trained in a self-supervised approach by exploiting the audio and visual signals naturally aligned in videos. With the purpose of training from video data, we present a novel dataset collected for this work, with high-quality videos of youtubers with notable expressiveness in both the speech and visual signals.

* ICASSP 2019. Projevct website at 

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Challenges and Opportunities of Speech Recognition for Bengali Language

Sep 27, 2021
M. F. Mridha, Abu Quwsar Ohi, Md. Abdul Hamid, Muhammad Mostafa Monowar

Speech recognition is a fascinating process that offers the opportunity to interact and command the machine in the field of human-computer interactions. Speech recognition is a language-dependent system constructed directly based on the linguistic and textual properties of any language. Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) systems are currently being used to translate speech to text flawlessly. Although ASR systems are being strongly executed in international languages, ASR systems' implementation in the Bengali language has not reached an acceptable state. In this research work, we sedulously disclose the current status of the Bengali ASR system's research endeavors. In what follows, we acquaint the challenges that are mostly encountered while constructing a Bengali ASR system. We split the challenges into language-dependent and language-independent challenges and guide how the particular complications may be overhauled. Following a rigorous investigation and highlighting the challenges, we conclude that Bengali ASR systems require specific construction of ASR architectures based on the Bengali language's grammatical and phonetic structure.

* Accepted in Artificial Intelligence Review 

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Out of the Echo Chamber: Detecting Countering Debate Speeches

May 03, 2020
Matan Orbach, Yonatan Bilu, Assaf Toledo, Dan Lahav, Michal Jacovi, Ranit Aharonov, Noam Slonim

An educated and informed consumption of media content has become a challenge in modern times. With the shift from traditional news outlets to social media and similar venues, a major concern is that readers are becoming encapsulated in "echo chambers" and may fall prey to fake news and disinformation, lacking easy access to dissenting views. We suggest a novel task aiming to alleviate some of these concerns -- that of detecting articles that most effectively counter the arguments -- and not just the stance -- made in a given text. We study this problem in the context of debate speeches. Given such a speech, we aim to identify, from among a set of speeches on the same topic and with an opposing stance, the ones that directly counter it. We provide a large dataset of 3,685 such speeches (in English), annotated for this relation, which hopefully would be of general interest to the NLP community. We explore several algorithms addressing this task, and while some are successful, all fall short of expert human performance, suggesting room for further research. All data collected during this work is freely available for research.

* Accepted to ACL 2020 as Long Paper. For the associated debate speeches corpus, see 

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A Deep Learning Loss Function based on Auditory Power Compression for Speech Enhancement

Aug 27, 2021
Tianrui Wang, Weibin Zhu

Deep learning technology has been widely applied to speech enhancement. While testing the effectiveness of various network structures, researchers are also exploring the improvement of the loss function used in network training. Although the existing methods have considered the auditory characteristics of speech or the reasonable expression of signal-to-noise ratio, the correlation with the auditory evaluation score and the applicability of the calculation for gradient optimization still need to be improved. In this paper, a signal-to-noise ratio loss function based on auditory power compression is proposed. The experimental results show that the overall correlation between the proposed function and the indexes of objective speech intelligibility, which is better than other loss functions. For the same speech enhancement model, the training effect of this method is also better than other comparison methods.

* 7 pages, 4 figures 

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Nonverbal Sound Detection for Disordered Speech

Feb 15, 2022
Colin Lea, Zifang Huang, Dhruv Jain, Lauren Tooley, Zeinab Liaghat, Shrinath Thelapurath, Leah Findlater, Jeffrey P. Bigham

Voice assistants have become an essential tool for people with various disabilities because they enable complex phone- or tablet-based interactions without the need for fine-grained motor control, such as with touchscreens. However, these systems are not tuned for the unique characteristics of individuals with speech disorders, including many of those who have a motor-speech disorder, are deaf or hard of hearing, have a severe stutter, or are minimally verbal. We introduce an alternative voice-based input system which relies on sound event detection using fifteen nonverbal mouth sounds like "pop," "click," or "eh." This system was designed to work regardless of ones' speech abilities and allows full access to existing technology. In this paper, we describe the design of a dataset, model considerations for real-world deployment, and efforts towards model personalization. Our fully-supervised model achieves segment-level precision and recall of 88.6% and 88.4% on an internal dataset of 710 adults, while achieving 0.31 false positives per hour on aggressors such as speech. Five-shot personalization enables satisfactory performance in 84.5% of cases where the generic model fails.

* Accepted at ICASSP 2022 

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VisualVoice: Audio-Visual Speech Separation with Cross-Modal Consistency

Jan 08, 2021
Ruohan Gao, Kristen Grauman

We introduce a new approach for audio-visual speech separation. Given a video, the goal is to extract the speech associated with a face in spite of simultaneous background sounds and/or other human speakers. Whereas existing methods focus on learning the alignment between the speaker's lip movements and the sounds they generate, we propose to leverage the speaker's face appearance as an additional prior to isolate the corresponding vocal qualities they are likely to produce. Our approach jointly learns audio-visual speech separation and cross-modal speaker embeddings from unlabeled video. It yields state-of-the-art results on five benchmark datasets for audio-visual speech separation and enhancement, and generalizes well to challenging real-world videos of diverse scenarios. Our video results and code:

* Project page: 

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Understanding the Tradeoffs in Client-Side Privacy for Speech Recognition

Jan 22, 2021
Peter Wu, Paul Pu Liang, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, Louis-Philippe Morency

Existing approaches to ensuring privacy of user speech data primarily focus on server-side approaches. While improving server-side privacy reduces certain security concerns, users still do not retain control over whether privacy is ensured on the client-side. In this paper, we define, evaluate, and explore techniques for client-side privacy in speech recognition, where the goal is to preserve privacy on raw speech data before leaving the client's device. We first formalize several tradeoffs in ensuring client-side privacy between performance, compute requirements, and privacy. Using our tradeoff analysis, we perform a large-scale empirical study on existing approaches and find that they fall short on at least one metric. Our results call for more research in this crucial area as a step towards safer real-world deployment of speech recognition systems at scale across mobile devices.

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