Increasingly, mobile devices are becoming the primary means by which people interact with the internet. This includes the traditional domains of search — information retrieval and question answering — but also goal-directed interactions, such as getting driving directions, making a calendar entry or ordering a pizza. Due to device size and the lack of traditional input-output mechanisms (e.g., keyboard and large screen) technologies such as voice recognition and information synthesis are no longer peripheral features, but key modalities critical to user experience. In this talk I will outline the challenges for language technologies in the mobile age. In particular, building multilingual systems to support Google’s vast international user base is imperative, as users demand native language support for adoption. Unfortunately, many language technologies are developed “English-first”, which leads to hard coded assumptions about syntax and semantics that do not generalize. To combat this, I will talk about various solutions from end-to-end learning to multilingual intermediate representations. Specifically, I will argue that morphosyntactic layers can be viewed as a reasonable multilingual intermediate representation useful for many user facing technologies.
Dr. Ryan McDonald, Senior Staff Research Scientist at Google,
Ryan McDonald is a Senior Staff Research Scientist at Google. Currently, he is the head of the London Natural Language Understanding team and more broadly the London Research & Machine Intelligence group. Previously he was the head of the New York Natural Language Understanding team at Google. His work focuses on multilingual morphosyntactic analysis and its applications to technologies like search, dialogue understanding and machine translation. Prior to Google he gained his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania on graph-based algorithms for the syntactic processing of language.