Janet Baker

Research Affiliate
  • Visiting Appointments
  • Fluid Interfaces

Janet Baker is presently a research affiliate in the Fluid Interfaces group. With a background in neurophysiology, AI, and speech technology, she is interested in advancing human capabilities to interact effectively with their environment, computers, and each other. In recent years she has worked on creating wearable technologies, especially incorporating user-tunable HiFi capabilities for the hearing impaired. She also advises high tech start-ups and funding entities on strategy and business operations.

Janet Baker was chairman/CEO and co-founder of Dragon Systems. Founded by Janet Baker and James Baker in 1982, with bootstrap financing, Dragon grew debt-free to 400 employees and $70 million/yr revenue before its all-stock sale in 2000. Dragon Systems introduced the world's first general-purpose speech dictation/transcription software, Dragon NaturallySpeaking®. Acclaimed for its worldwide technology and market leadership, Dragon Systems also introduced audiomining, the first search engine for audio, in many world languages over diverse audio channels. Dragon's technology has been successfully incorporated globally into leading applications, including Apple's "Siri,"  most US-based hospital dictation services,  many cloud-based applications, automotive navigation/control systems, consumer products (spanning toys, robots, smart TVs,  prosthetic devices), with billions of users.

For many years Janet has advised international government, academic, and corporate entities on entrepreneurship, high tech strategy, planning, assessment, etc. She guest lectures on entrepreneurship and innovation at major business schools (MIT Sloan, Harvard, Babson College-HEC/Paris, to name a few). During the past decade, Janet has collaborated with neuroscientists at Harvard-MIT HST,  University of California, San Diego, and Boston University to explore how the human brain recognizes speech and language, using optimization approaches, machine learning, etc. Starting with collaborations with Prof. Lettvin (RLE) and Profs. Minsky and Papert (Project MAC), Janet has long been affiliated with MIT, across multiple departments, as well as with Harvard Medical School. She has received several international industry awards. Academic degrees include a BS in biology from Tufts University and a PhD in AI from Carnegie-Mellon University.