A Deep Dive into the Disparity of Word Error Rates across Thousands of NPTEL MOOC Videos


  • Anand Kumar Rai Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  • Siddharth D Jaiswal Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  • Animesh Mukherjee Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur




Automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems are designed to transcribe spoken language into written text and find utility in a variety of applications including voice assistants and transcription services. However, it has been observed that state-of-the-art ASR systems which deliver impressive benchmark results, struggle with speakers of certain regions or demographics due to variation in their speech properties. In this work, we describe the curation of a massive speech dataset of 8740 hours consisting of ~9.8K technical lectures in the English language along with their transcripts delivered by instructors representing various parts of Indian demography. The dataset is sourced from the very popular NPTEL MOOC platform. We use the curated dataset to measure the existing disparity in YouTube Automatic Captions and OpenAI Whisper model performance across the diverse demographic traits of speakers in India. While there exists disparity due to gender, native region, age and speech rate of speakers, disparity based on caste is non-existent. We also observe statistically significant disparity across the disciplines of the lectures. These results indicate the need of more inclusive and robust ASR systems and more representational datasets for disparity evaluation in them.




How to Cite

Rai, A. K., Jaiswal, S. D., & Mukherjee, A. (2024). A Deep Dive into the Disparity of Word Error Rates across Thousands of NPTEL MOOC Videos. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 18(1), 1302-1314. https://doi.org/10.1609/icwsm.v18i1.31390