Opportunities or Threats for current LT

(Note. Some initially identified opportunities or threats were circulated among leading experts on LT in the Nordic countries and their comments on these can be found below.)

Current technology drivers that push the development:

  • Open Source tools for developing and maintaining language resources such as corpora, lexicons, rule sets or language models
  • Network Technology for virtual networks and web applications
  • Content Management using meta data and the semantic web

Customer needs that pull language technology:

  • Tacit Knowledge Growth creating a need to share and maintain increasing amounts of corporate knowledge
  • Continued Globalization requiring multilingual solutions
  • Process Speed-Up demanding automated production procedures and a shifting of manual production efforts to quality control
  • Social Needs for empowerment and cooperation, i.e. individually having full control of key resources and procedures in the work environment while cooperating in a team

What other technology trends or customer needs do you think will affect Language Technology?

(Quotes in order of submission:)

Technology trends:

  • Statistical Machine Learning techniques for efficient and adaptive knowledge acquisition and representation.
  • Multimodal Systems that integrate language technology with pattern recognition and machine vision.
-- Timo Honkela

Other important trends:

  • multimedia systems (= the combination of audio and video data with written texts)
  • increasing demand to digitize archived information (making historic documents from libraries and archives available online). We will soon have a situation of a document being either electronically available or being ignored.
-- Martin Volk

The strongest pull factors are:

  1. information access through search and
  2. pervasive online services.
-- Koenraad de Smedt

I believe, frankly, that Open Source tools in this area is not important. What is important is available linguistic resources (lexicons, corpora (written end spoken) and perhaps grammar fragments) which make it possible for companies to develop solutions for the Nordic countries.
-- Torbjørn Nordgård

Embedded software is a continuing technology trend, which enables new interface solutions where LT can play a role.
-- Lars Ahrenberg

T.ex. behovet av bättre språkkontrollverktyg för tidningarna är en aktuell utmaning.
-- Mikael Reuter

The majority of information from local national governments will be accessible via the web; reduced availability of human assistance. Easy access to information will require LT, both due to information overload and to reduce/eliminate the effects of the digital divide.
-- Torbjørn Svendsen

Needs of the public system (as argued above, with responsibilities and the will to provide information to all), to level the playing field between accomplished writers and readers on the one hand and those with less experience on the other: schoolchildren, educationally less advantaged groups, recent immigrants etc. This especially concerns the educational, the adminstrative, and the legal system - but media houses will also have vested interests in making their information publicly available.
-- Jussi Karlgren

Customer needs: Machine translation between Nordic languages and English
-- Eckhard Bick

Other technology trends:

  • Hardware development, notably memory size and processor speed, makes more advanced language technology solutions possible, in more contexts.
  • Increased use of electronic rather than paper archives will force the development of LT tools for marking, storing and retrieving data.
  • A growing European integration requires multilingual solutions.
-- Trond Trosterud


  • Automated public information services, monolingual or multilingual, for fully functional or disabled persons Speech synthesis or recognition embedded in future ubiquitous computer tools or practical gadgets
Customer needs:
  • The need for voice operated (input and output) computer tools and gadgets, both amongst fully functional and disabled persons
-- Jan Hoel

Mobila system och allestädes närvarande datorer (ubiquitous computing) är en trend som säkert håller i sig och där språkteknologi har en viktig roll att spela. Det finns många behov hos användare som inte är uppfyllda och där bättre användaranpassning krävs av språkteknologiska produkter, t.ex. för funktionshindrade, olika användarkompetenser, olika verksamhetsområden som t.ex. undervisning.
-- Rickard Domeij

'Technology trends':

  • Trend towards multi-modal and more flexible interfaces to information systems, will increase the demand for LT, in particular Speech Technology.
'Customer needs':
  • Increased usage of and dependence on the world wide web as a general source of information.
-- Tron Espeli

Multi-media technology will be a driver for both content management and language technology
-- Bernt A. Bremdal

Management of large-scale digital speech, text, image and video corpora: While the available resources continue to grow almost exponentially, the challenge of language technology is to provide new efficient multilingual language processing algorithms
-- Mikko Kurimo

Customer needs will pull the LT forward such as Information access for all including people with functional handicaps. The aging population will put new demands on LT services for increased life quality. Language learning will require LT support for training.
-- Rolf Carlson

The merging of television, telephony and other media through IP. Related to this the use of various end-devices, e.g. mobile phones that call for the use of LT e.g. in mediating text. Cultural needs to express one identity through language.
-- Arnor Gudmundsson

There are also citizen and societal needs (not all - or even most - human relationships should be thought of as involving a customer). Multilingual, cross-lingual, multimodal access to public services and participation in public life.
-- Lars Borin

What the semantic web is or will be can be debated (as well as whether it exists or ever will exist). More important is, however, the possibilities for distributed data storage (over the net), as well as the possibilities for wider and easier access (e.g., through mobile devices).
-- Björn Gambäck

-- KristerLinden - 01 Jun 2006

Topic revision: r8 - 2006-06-11 - KristerLinden
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