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Google enlists Redditors with accents to improve voice recognition

There’s no doubt speech recognition is going to become ever more important as companies increasingly integrate the technology into their products.

But one major drawback to the technology, at this point, is the inability of it to always recognise accents correctly. Now, Google seems to be doing something about that.

As originally spotted by Quartz, the company has seemingly contracted third-party company, Appen, to gather audio samples of accents from Reddit users.

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Yes, the search giant has turned to the ‘front page of the internet’ in an attempt to ensure its speech recognition software will work with even the thickest of accents in the future.

The original post has now been taken down but offered Scottish Redditors £27 to record audio samples – a task which reportedly takes up to three hours.

Those users that responded would have to record phrases such as “Indy now” or “Google, what’s the time?”, according to Quartz’s report. The ad also offered users under 17 £20 to read from a shorter, 45-minute script.

Appen has been posting on a several subredddits, including /r/slavelabour, /r/WorkOnline, and /r/beermoney, as well as city-specific subreddits such as /r/Edinburgh.

Google has not confirmed its involvement in the project, and there’s also been no word from Appen on just what the adverts relate to.

You can see a screenshot of the original advert here, as Appen appears to be taking down the posts quite quickly.

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Would you take part in Google’s project? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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