ASEF Junior Fellow 2021 Ajda Óvári at the event
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Ajda Óvári: Speech and language therapy and artificial intelligence

July 23, 2024 | 2:42 pm |

The American Slovenian Education Foundation, in collaboration with Slovenian Speech and Language Therapists Association and Adult education centre Kranj, organized a science lecture on Wednesday, April 3, at Intergenerational center Kranj. The lecture was held by Ajda Óvári, ASEF Junior Fellow 2021, a qualified speech and language therapist who currently works for Magic Words Therapy. She conducted her research visit in autumn 2023 with ASEF Mentor Dr. Gašper Beguš at the University of California, Berkeley.

The participants were first addressed by the Director of Adult education centre Kranj, Mateja Šmid, who presented the programme and activities taking place at the intergenerational centre, emphasizing the importance of cooperation with organizations. Nataša Vovk presented the activities of the Slovenian Speech and Language Therapists Association and highlighted the successful cooperation between the association and the lecturer.

The lecture started with an introduction to the concepts of speech therapy and large-scale language models, using the ChatGPT tool as an example. Ajda Óvári presented the difference between acquired and congenital language disorders, focusing on aphasia, which most often occurs after a head injury or stroke. She went on to present the encouraging results of her Master’s thesis, in which she investigated the positive effects of a new proposed language processing therapy in the rehabilitation of aphasia.

She then presented her project, in which she investigated the applicability of large-scale language models in the daily work of speech and language therapists. She focused on exploring the metalinguistic abilities of ChatGPT and tested the accuracy of ChatGPT in diagnosing aphasia from a speech sample. Using concrete examples, she demonstrated the shortcomings of the tool, especially when working in Slovene, but also its usefulness in identifying the speech characteristics of people with aphasia.

Ajda Óvári added that one has to be careful when working with ChatGPT due to confidentiality of data, and that the health history of the individual and the broader context are also important for a correct diagnosis.

The lecture raised questions about the safe and effective use of ChatGPT in the work of speech and language therapists, and the participants addressed the differences in use between countries and languages in a debate.

The event was coordinated by Tina Geč, a student of ASEF.

The ASEF Young Minds project is supported by the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth and the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad.  

ASEF Young Minds