Session: Voice AI: The Future is By Everyone and For Everyone
Voice AI is increasingly ubiquitous and democratized, voice AI is shifting from a glitchy IVR world to more and more human-like, sophisticated, multi-turn interactions. The ubiquity of these products cannot be underestimated, i.e. Google Assistant will replace voice search in the Chrome browser in 2020 (Voicebot.ai, 2020). Yet it is an open question whether voice AI supports users everywhere and how far we are from supporting a mission of everyone and everywhere. While significant financial opportunities alone may be enough for some companies to consider demographics during research and design phases (Bajorek, 2019), multilingual and multi-dialectal roadmap creation can be a tricky feat to prioritize numerous scripts, low-resource datasets, and models trained with English as the default framework that extrapolate poorly (Bender, 2019; van Esch, 2019). This talk provides concrete examples of robust fiscal and moral reasons to support a wide variety of languages and dialects internationally and the evolution of our builds to support voice technology of the future.
Dr. Joan Palmiter Bajorek is the Head of Conversational Research and Strategy at VERSA and the CEO and Founder of Women in Voice, the international empowerment organization empowering women and gender diversity in voice tech.
Previously a Senior Conversational Experience Designer at Nuance and Principal User Experience Researcher at the University of Arizona, Bajorek currently spearheads conversational research and strategy for the world's largest voice digital agency, VERSA. An Alexa Champion, “Top 11 Influencer of Voice” by Voicebot.ai 2019, WeWork Labs Entrepreneur in Residence 2020, “Executive of the Year” Finalist 2019, and Finalist for “The Project Voice Medal for Diversity and Inclusion” and “Voice AI Pioneer of the Year” 2020, Bajorek is a leader in the voice technology field domestically and internationally.
Her PhD research and thought leadership pieces have been published by Harvard Business Review, Cambridge University Press, Adobe XD Ideas, SoundHound, and UXmatters, exploring the future of voice products, bias in AI, platform disruption, and multimodal and multilingual interfaces of the future. She holds a PhD from the University of Arizona in the field of speech language technology and an MA in Linguistics from the University of California, Davis. She lives in Seattle, WA.