Raising Our Common Voice For The Web

It’s not everyday that you get a chance to contribute to a massive global project that makes the Internet more inclusive and helps developers build a better Internet. Today is not a typical day.

I’m excited to share that this morning Mozilla is introducing Project Common Voice, a crowdsourced initiative to build an open source data set for voice recognition apps.

That sounds wonky, but you use voice recognition apps all the time. They’re behind the services from Google, Apple and Amazon that recognize your voice and make your devices do things on command. Example: “Siri, download Firefox!” 🙂

Experts think voice recognition applications represent the next big thing. The problem is the current ecosystem favors Big Tech and leaves out the next wave of innovators. These are the people who will take this incredible technology to the next level.

How is the game rigged for Big Tech? First, the data that is used to “teach” computers how to understand our voices are biased towards English, Chinese and a select group of languages. The devices these data sets power don’t understand all of us.

Second, these data sets are proprietary. Little guys like students, startups, and researchers who want to build voice-enabled devices can only access fairly limited data sets. Those can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.

The time has come for an open source data sets that can change the game. The time is right for Project Common Voice.

Your Voice is Needed

Mozilla is spending the summer and fall asking people like you — people who care about inclusion, diversity and opportunity — to contribute to Project Common Voice.

We’ll release the data set to developers when we have enough data. We fully expect them to go hog wild creating devices, apps, and operating systems.

You don’t have to read War and Peace into Project Common Voice to make a difference. You can contribute as much or as little as you want — every little bit helps.

Just go here to get started, and don’t be shy about sharing it with your friends. It’s fun, easy, and will help you leave the Internet better than you found it.

As always, thank you for raising your voice for the Internet!

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