What is... Human Language Technology?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) involves the development of computer systems for the performance of tasks normally requiring human intelligence including speech recognition, translation, decision making and visual perception. Human Language Technology is a vital subfield of Artificial Intelligence and is concerned with one of our most pervasive commodities: human language (both spoken and written) and its interaction with computers and Information Technology. Human Language Technology is situated on the intersection between computer science and linguistics. This rapidly evolving interdisciplinary field enables us to model, process and analyse human language from a computational perspective, providing machines with the ability to deal with the underlying complexity of human language and human communication.
In the past decade, Human Language Technology has become a central component in the field of Artificial Intelligence, as it has become increasingly prevalent in our lives. Voice assistants such as Alexa, Cortana, Google Assist and Siri are almost ubiquitous in a range of everyday consumer devices. Successful Human Language Technology applications have become part of our everyday experience. Human Language Technology is concerned with human language, as it appears in emails, web pages, tweets, product descriptions, newspaper stories, social media, and scientific articles, in thousands of languages worldwide.
The Human Language Technology professional will have expertise in the domain areas of linguistics, computer science, computational linguistics, natural language processing, artificial intelligence and computer engineering. Combining expertise in these domain areas provides us with a myriad of new and exciting innovations from intelligent conversational agents/avatars and automatic speech recognition on user devices to Internet search and machine translation of the world's languages.