Dominic Watt @ LEL Research Seminar

Posted on November 7, 2017 by



This week is a special week for the Research seminars, as there will be an additional lecture on Wednesday, November 8 (besides the regular Tuesday sesh). On Wednesday, we’ll welcome Dominic Watt (University of York) to speak about forensic linguistics and voice impersonation. Here’s the abstract:


Fake yous: Voice impersonation by human and machine as a form of identity theft
Dominic Watt – University of York
Fraudulent impersonation of individual speakers as a type of language crime has a long history in forensic speech science. Murderers have used it as a way of tricking others into thinking that their victims are still alive, for instance, while a scam artist may use his or her voice to pretend to be someone else in an attempt to embezzle funds. In the last few years, vocal impersonation has become a pressing problem for speech technologists, and especially so in the wake of the recent adoption of automatic speaker verification systems for telephone banking operations (cf. HSBC’s ‘My voice is my password’ publicity campaign in 2016). It is estimated that some 200 million people worldwide have already enrolled their ‘voiceprints’ for these purposes, and it is anticipated that this number will more than double by 2020. Spoofing of speaker verification applications using impersonated voices – be it simply in the form of one speaker mimicking another over the phone, or via the use of the latest generation of voice-cloning software – therefore poses a significant security threat. In this talk I will discuss the critical need for research on anti-spoofing techniques, and will consider the implications of new experimental findings (Taylor 2017) relating to the susceptibility of automatic speaking recognition software to attacks of the above sorts. I also consider the issue of ‘voice ownership’ in the context of identity theft and intellectual property rights, given that this is an area in which the relevant legal frameworks in the United Kingdom currently have rather little to say.

These are the details:
Room Booked: Sam Alex_A116
Date: Wed 08 Nov 2017 
Time: 16:15 – 17:30
Afterwards, you’re more than welcome to stay for the wine reception, and to join us to dinner with the speaker.
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