Can Visual Context Improve Automatic Speech Recognition for an Embodied Agent?
Pradip Pramanick | Chayan Sarkar
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing
The usage of automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems are becoming omnipresent ranging from personal assistant to chatbots, home, and industrial automation systems, etc. Modern robots are also equipped with ASR capabilities for interacting with humans as speech is the most natural interaction modality. However, ASR in robots faces additional challenges as compared to a personal assistant. Being an embodied agent, a robot must recognize the physical entities around it and therefore reliably recognize the speech containing the description of such entities. However, current ASR systems are often unable to do so due to limitations in ASR training, such as generic datasets and open-vocabulary modeling. Also, adverse conditions during inference, such as noise, accented, and far-field speech makes the transcription inaccurate. In this work, we present a method to incorporate a robot’s visual information into an ASR system and improve the recognition of a spoken utterance containing a visible entity. Specifically, we propose a new decoder biasing technique to incorporate the visual context while ensuring the ASR output does not degrade for incorrect context. We achieve a 59% relative reduction in WER from an unmodified ASR system.