6×4 Voicebot Podcast Patricia Scanlon SoapBox Labs

Soapbox Labs Founder and Ireland’s AI Ambassador Patricia Scanlon – Voicebot Podcast Ep 351

When you think about it, kids, their language is probably more like Yoda than it is like an adult. They literally flip sounds, they lisp, and under-pronounce, and they over-punctuate and they elongate. They just don’t follow the plan, and they change their behavior rapidly. Even the same child every couple of months changes their language because they learn…
Even the newer approach, end-to-end, it has an expectation about what is being said, and it leans quite heavily on that prediction… And then you get a 5-year-old, and it’s all muddled up and it just starts messing with the system that was never designed for that. And you think about people with English as a second language kind of struggling with these too. You often hear people saying that. It doesn’t work as well for them because they are not speaking in a very predictable way, and therefore it starts to break down. So, we had to come at this not just as a data problem but also in how we built it to get the best response for children.

Patricia Scanlon is the founder and executive chair of Soapbox Labs, the company behind the industry’s leading automated speech recognition (ASR) for children. Scanlon has a PhD in speech recognition, signal processing, and machine learning from the University College Dublin, and previously was an adjunct lecturer at Trinity College and on the research staff of Nokia Bell Labs. She founded Soapbox Labs after recognizing that all leading ASRs were trained on adult speech data and showed poor results for children, particularly young children.

Since founding Soapbox Labs in 2013, the company has helped leading software providers bring ASR to education, gaming, and other applications designed for children. We discuss many of the applications and how education has changed since COVID.

Scanlon is also Ireland’s AI Ambassador, and we discuss market education for consumers, business, and government, as well as the draft EU AI Act. She was previously a guest on the Voicebot podcast in episodes 129 and 206, from 2019 and 2012, respectively.







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