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Meaning Making with Artificial Interlocutors and Risks of Language Technology

PhD Masterclass by Emily M. Bender

Humans make sense of language in context, bringing to bear their own understanding of the world including their model of their interlocutor's understanding of the world. In this talk, I will explore various potential risks that arise when we as humans bring this sense-making capacity to interactions with artificial interlocutors. That is, I will ask what happens in conversations where one party has no (or extremely limited) access to meaning and all of the interpretative work rests with the other, and briefly explore what this entails for the design of language technology.

Emily M. Bender is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics and an Adjunct Professor at the Information School and the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Information at the University of Washington. She is the Faculty Director of the Professional Master's in Computational Linguistics and the Director of the Computational Linguistics Laboratory. Her research interests include technology for endangered language documentation, computational semantics, and methodologies for supporting consideration of impacts language technology in NLP research, development, and education. Her public scholarship is centered around supporting public understanding of language technology.


Start date: 5 April 2024, 02.00 pm


USI Lugano, Red Building, Room A-11


ZHAW Angewandte Linguistik
Theaterstrasse 15c
8401 Winterthur