The future of Icelandic

The event “Educational day 2017”, organised by SA-Business Iceland on February 2nd, focussed on the  Icelandic language and language technology. Leading persons from academia, industry, politics, and culture spoke with enthusiasm about the role and future of Icelandic and the chances within language technology. The president of Iceland, Mr. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson (whose name posed a challenge to the pronunciation talent of Amazon’s Alexa), also honoured the meeting and professed great optimism for the Icelandic language and LT. As did our representative from LVL, Jón had a talk on speech recognition, “Speaking Icelandic to computers”.

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Bowling!

What better way to unwind than to take a step back, take 3 steps forward, and knock down those pins. The team went bowling at Keiluhöllin Egilshöll, had a few beers, a few laughs, and quite a few strikes (although machine intelligence combined with some robotics would probably have done better).

Of course it’s all about having fun and all that, but for the record, it was clear Michal and Jón were the best and won a game each.

ICASSP 2017 New Orleans – we will be there.

Two members of our lab will attend ICASSP 2017 conference in New Orleans. We will present a paper on the classification of voice modalities using a neck-surface accelerometer. The paper is the result of our collaboration with guys from the Massachusetts General Hospital, US and Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria, Chile. Thanks for your help!

Hopefully, the trip won’t be all work and no fun.

Pilot tests

The paralinguistic team finished gathering additional data for the Voice patterns in air-traffic control project in the second half of December.  The participants are all pilots working for Icelandair that came to us straight after grueling sessions in their flight simulator.

We want to thank all the participants and staff of Icelandair for their cooperation!

eydisworking
Eydís about to do a session with a pilot.

CADIA Christmas Party

It’s not all speech recognition, artificial and machine intelligence, cutting edge technology, cerebral topics and turning it off and on again. Sometimes, if not all the time, it is important to have a little fun! (not everyone likes social gatherings mind you, but many do)

Which brings us to the annual CADIA “Little Artificial Christmas” party! There was beer, food, games, music and general merriment. Two old Icelandic folk tales were recited for the group, much like was done in the old days before the invention of the transistor and other distractors.

And just like previous years the “Yankee Swap” gift exchange game was played. Everybody brought a little wrapped gift for the gift pool. The idea of the game is to pick something you have relatively little (or no!) use for yourself (maybe you can find something in your storage room). Otherwise, you can buy something small.

Merry Christmas!

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AI Festival

The annual AI Festival was held at Reykjavik University two weeks ago on Nov 11, 2016. The focus of this year’s festival was AI and the economy. You can watch the entirety of the talks and discussions here (it was streamed live). There was no admission fee and the festival was open to everyone.

Many interesting lectures and discussions, including the one by Dr. Jacky Mallett, where they had written software to simulate an economy with several interesting results, but I have to mention here as she did at the beginning of the talk that

All economies described in this talk are artificial. Any relationship to any real economy is an open research problem.

and in fact that

This warning should be attached to all academic presentations on economics.

After the talks and discussions, there was a poster & demonstration session titled Innovation & AI in Industry & Academia where many people from within the University came to present their projects to interested parties. There were snacks, there was beer, there was fun and knowledge and ideas were shared.

The Language and Voice Lab of course had a strong presence there with 5 posters.

  • Automatic Speech Recognition for Simulated Air Traffic Control
  • Automatic speech recognition for Icelandic (two projects, Free and open large vocabulary ASR and ASR for parliament speeches)
  • Cognitive workload monitoring using voice
  • Eyra – data acquisition system for many languages
  • Objective Assessment of Voice Quality

You can see more about our projects here on this site, and of course you can contact us if you want further information.

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Here’s the program:
14.00 Introduction Dr. Kristinn R. Þórisson
– Professor at RU, Director of IIIM
14.10 Towards an Evolutionary Theory of Technological Change
Prof. J. Doyne Farmer
– Director of Complexity Economics, Institute for New Economic Thinking, University of Oxford
15.00 Coffee
15.15 AI & Economics: Problem or Opportunity?
Dr. Jacky Mallett
– IIIM Senior Scientist / Adjunct Professor, Reykjavik University
15:50 Position statements: AI & the Economy: Monkeywrench or Moneysaver?
– Dr. Jón Gudnason, Dr. Magnús Torfason, Dr. Kristinn R. Thórisson
16.05 Coffee
16.15 Panel Discussion: AI & the Economy: Monkeywrench or Moneysaver?
Moderator: Jacky Mallett
17.15 Innovation & AI in Industry & Academia (room M201)
– Posters & Demonstrations / Refreshments