Language transplantation - Friends helping friends

Name: Antal van den Bosch
Organisation: KNAW

Speaking information assistants such as Alexa and Siri seem to be the pinnacle of present-day AI, while being driven by relatively safe and old technologies. New technology that genuinely interacts, understands, and helps us with tasks like reading email and writing texts, is already passing the research lab tests. Samantha, the speaking operating system in the movie Her (2013), is far more a reality than most people think. I illustrate the current developments by several recent breakthroughs, and focus on a case study on ‘language transplantation’: augmenting a personalised language model with ‘language from friends’, or sociolectal language, a notion central to the field of sociolinguistics. I will discuss how ‘personal’ a personal assistant can, should, and perhaps should not be.

Picture of the speaker