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Human Language Technology and Where It's Headed

#sxsw #nlproc

Language is the holy grail of artificial intelligence. When we imagine sharing a world with smart machines, we don't think about logic, or problem solving, or winning at chess. We hear HAL-9000 declining to open the pod bay doors, and the Terminator saying he'll be baaack. Researchers have been working on building computers we can talk to for 60 years; in the 1990s, Bill Gates predicted that speech would soon be “a primary way of interacting with the machine”. So why aren't we talking to our computers yet ....Or are we? Thanks to new developments in human language technology (also known as "natural language processing") and text analytics, computers are analyzing everything from e-mail and tweets to clinical records and and speed-date conversations. How does the technology work, when does it work well (and when not), what's it doing for us, and where is it headed?



Jason Baldridge Assoc Professor The University of Texas

Jason has 15 years of experience in research, consulting, and software development in natural language processing. He currently holds a tenured position as an associate professor of computational linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned degrees in linguistics and computer science at the University of Pennsylvania and in computer science at the University of Edinburgh, where his doctoral dissertation was awarded the 2003 Beth Dissertation Prize from the European Association for Logic, Language, and Information. In 1999, he co-founded the the OpenNLP project and created the OpenNLP Toolkit, which is now in incubation at the Apache Software Foundation. He is an internationally recognized expert in natural language processing, with more than 50 publications in books, journals, and conference proceeedings. Jason is currently on the editorial boards of Computational Linguistics, Computing Science and Engineering, and Linguistics in Language Technology, and he has served as area chair in Syntax and Parsing (2008) and NLP Applications (2012) for the conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics. Outside academia, he serves as senior data scientist for Converseon, a leading social media consultancy.

Lillian Lee Professor Cornell University

Professor of computer science at Cornell. Awards include: Best Paper at
HLT-NAACL 2004, "Top Picks: Technology Research Advances of 2004" by Technology Research News, a Sloan Fellowship, coverage in the New York Times. But she is not from Iowa, nor ranked 843; and she is certainly not the pine-scented air.

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