Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Three Observations about Recent Language Technology News

To start us off, recent experience has shown three things:

  1. Speech (i.e. voice) related news is TTS-dominated, less so by ASR.
  2. The company featured most frequently in the news is Nuance.
  3. The talk of semantic search engines seems to dominate the NLP news.
The success of TTS is largely due to requirements set by mobile and in-car technologies, especially GPS and communications. The future of ASR in the other hand seems to depend on the dictation market (especially in the healthcare sector) and a growing relevance of network ASR (driven by advancing VoIP, impact of multi-modal applications).

Nuance's continued position will depend on the role of "super players" IBM and Microsoft and to a lesser degree the role of open-source initiatives, especially on the network/telephony side.

Semantic search engines recently got some media hype with "Google-Killer" Powerset, a PARC offspring. While in its infancy, some believe this development towards semantic web will usher in a Web3.0 revolution. Of course, soem others believe this has already begun, while yet more just wanna see what happens with all this.

Let's see how these trends develop. Especially multi-modality and semantic searches will be issues to follow closely.

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