I’m Sorry, I Didn’t Get That: How the Design of Speech Recognition Technologies Reinforces Accent Bias

Join the Department of Humanities for its first annual Humanities Alumni Lecture featuring Dr. Halcyon Lawrence, Assistant Professor of English at Towson University. The event will take place starting at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 9 in Wishnick Hall Auditorium, with a reception to follow.

This talk challenges contemporary claims about the revolutionary nature of speech technologies and investigates how devices like Siri and Alexa reinforce accent bias. Dr. Halcyon Lawrence argues that designers and developers must examine the socio-economic context in which speech technologies are developed and the long history of assimilation—rooted in imperialist, dominant-class ideologies—that non-native and non-standard speakers of English have had to practice in order to participate in economic and social systems. Lawrence will also share recommendations for designers and developers to consider for producing more inclusive speech devices.

This event is free and open to the public. It is cosponsored by the Department of Humanities, Lewis College of Human Sciences, the Kaplan Institute, the Department of Computer Science, and the Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) Program.