Burgerpraat! aims to boost Flemish Speech Technology

(12-12-2018) Prof. dr. Kris Demuynck, ELIS research group IDLab, starts with an extraordinary project: Burgerpraat! which invites people to share their 'speech' and improve speech technology also on a metacommunication level.

People are naturally experts in spoken communication. In this way, we intuitively adapt our communication style to the personality of our interlocutor, we learn new idioms (expressions, sayings) after having heard them only once, etc. In the citizen science project ¿Burgerpraat! we want to call in the help of the inhabitants of Flanders to also teach computers this skill.

The primary focus of the project is on recognizing the personality and mood of the conversation partner, both by listening to the use of words and by the way of speaking (intonation, use of voice). Technology that has or supports this skill is very versatile. For example, there is a great demand for technological support for people in professions where good communication is essential (contact centers, helplines, law enforcement, ...). In education (pupil guidance) and the business world (human resources), there is also a demand to look at personality in terms of training choice or job completion in addition to technical skills. You can also think of tools for personal self-development. All these tools should help to get the right person in the right place, or to bring them into contact with the right person, to avoid burn-out or other problems caused by bad interpersonal contacts.
Some other relevant objectives of the project are:

  • Putting a correct image of the current possibilities of artificial intelligence (AI), and thus helping to create realistic expectations and future images of AI.
  • Collect a rich set of multimedia materials to support further research on communication style (speech and mime).
  • To map current language use (dialect, youth language, ...).
  • To clarify the meaning of language and behavioral sciences for science and technology, in order to generate a broader interest in this for both students and teachers.
  • To make this language and speech research possible, data from 1000 citizens is collected.

For more information surf to burgerpraat.elis.ugent.be or send an email to .