How “hot” is Language Technology?

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I am always amazed about the speed of changing trends in digital technology and their impact on language technology (LT). Some years ago, Big Data were the hype. In 2016, Hyon S Chu in his blog claims the death of Big Data (or at least the death of Big Data as buzz word). Exit Big Data, enter AI. Artificial Intelligence is the latest fad that will breathe brain-like abilities into machines. According to Forbes, the 10 hot topics of AI include (amongst others): place 1: Natural Language Generation; place 2: Speech recognition; place 10: Text analytics and NLP. AI will be a game changer, with most effects on vertical sectors (that already do or do not use AI).

These developments are in stark contrast to the average perception of people. Firstly, it can be observed that the term “language technology” is not “hot”. It is not even lukewarm. Reason for it is that LT comprises many different technologies that may (or may not) ring a bell. By now, people know Google translate, therefore, LT is associated with free, simple but not too reliable machine translation. Others may realise that the GPS voice might have something to do with LT (vocal human-machine interactions) but without labelling it LT, rather speech technology or similar. Secondly, when it comes to the most powerful segment of LT, text or speech analytics, the average non-techie person (in companies but also decision-makers) are at sea: How can LT have anything to do with defence or cybersecurity? How can LT cause a quantum leap in efficiency, effectiveness and security in the banking sector? Answers to these questions are indeed “hot”.

If you are among those that wonder or among those that know but want to hear more about future trends, join me at the LT Industry Summit 2017 from 9 to 11 October in Brussels where “hot” LT solutions for defence, the financial sector, business, and media & publishing will be presented. Some tickets are still available, register now!

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