We’ve already seen how awkward computers can be when they try to speak like humans, but researchers from North Carolina State and Georgia Tech have now developed a program that could make it easier to show them how it’s done. Their approach, outlined in a recently published paper, would allow developers to create natural language generation (NLG) systems twice as fast as currently possible. NLG technology is used in a wide array of applications (including video games and customer service centers), but producing these systems has traditionally required developers to enter massive amounts of data, vocabulary and templates — rules that computers use to develop coherent sentences. Lead author Karthik Narayan and his team, however, have created a program capable of learning how to use these templates on its own, thereby requiring developers to input only basic information about any given topic of conversation. As it learns how to speak, the software can also make automatic suggestions about which information should be added to its database, based on the conversation at hand. Narayan and his colleagues will present their study at this year’s Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment conference in October, but you can dig through it for yourself, at the link below.
New program makes it easier to turn your computer into a conversational chatterbox originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 05 Sep 2011 01:04:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
It’s one thing for a robot to learn English, Japanese, or any other language that we humans have already mastered. It’s quite another for a pair of bots to develop their own, entirely new lexicon, as these two apparently have. Created by Ruth Schulz and her team of researchers at the University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology, each of these so-called Lingodroids constructed their special language after navigating their way through a labyrinthine space. As they wove around the maze, the Lingobots created spatial maps of their surroundings, with the help of on-board cameras, laser range finders and sonar equipment that helped them avoid walls. They also created words for each mapped location, using a database of syllables. With the mapping complete, the robots would reconvene and communicate their findings to each other, using mounted microphones and speakers. One bot, for example, would spit out a word it had created for the center of the maze (“jaya”), sending both of them off on a “race” to find that spot. If they ended up meeting at the center of the room, they would agree to call it “jaya.” From there, they could tell each other about the area they’d just come from, thereby spawning new words for direction and distance, as well. Schulz is now looking to teach her bots how to express more complex ideas, though her work is likely to hit a roadblock once these two develop a phrase for “armed revolt.”
Lingodroid robots develop their own language, quietly begin plotting against mankind originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 18 May 2011 11:07:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, ruth schulz
After having already penetrated the UK’s e-book market last year, Amazon has now launched the German Kindle Store, bringing more than 650,000 titles to Europe’s most populous country. With today’s launch, the German Kindle Store instantly becomes Germany’s biggest e-bookstore, with some 25,000 German-language titles, thousands of free classics, and a similarly bountiful collection of independent newspapers and magazines. Customers will also be able to purchase the latest Kindle and Kindle 3G models directly from Amazon.de, along with a whole new suite of free, German-language Kindle apps for iPhone, iPad, PC and Android platforms. Germany’s writers and publishers, meanwhile, can use the Kindle Direct Publishing service to make their works instantly available on the new store, where, if they’re lucky, they may get to pocket some handsome royalties, as well. Full press release after the break.
Continue reading Amazon launches German Kindle Store with 650,000 titles and lots of long words
Amazon launches German Kindle Store with 650,000 titles and lots of long words originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 21 Apr 2011 08:49:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Thanks to online tools like Google Translate we’re now able to communicate with people in nearly any language — maybe not perfectly, but well enough to get the general idea across, and livened up by the occasional humorous mistranslation. Now DARPA wants that done wholesale and with military precision, launching the BOLT initiative. That stands for Boundless Operational Language Translation, and DARPA is giving interested parties until May 19th of this year to submit proposals for how they’ll manage to achieve the department’s lofty goals, which include written and spoken translation into English of “multiple languages.” If you’re thinking of competing you can find all the details at the source link, though curiously you won’t find a single Vorgon dialect mentioned.
DARPA BOLT initiative wants real-time spoken translation, Douglas Adams’ ghost says it’s about time originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 06 Apr 2011 13:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, automatic translation
We’d say this was getting silly but that would imply that it wasn’t already. Microsoft and Apple are still at each other’s throat over the latter’s trademark application for the term “App Store,” with Microsoft now bringing in a Dr. Ronald Butters, Professor Emeritus at Duke University and a man with a taste for hardcore semantics. He says the compound noun “app store” is perfectly generic in that it “does not merely describe the thing named, it is the thing named.” In a wildly geeky turn, he references the potential for someone discovering a use for masers and trying to trademark the term “maser store” in response, which would seem immediately and logically absurd. An app store, says the good doctor, is no more capable of being trademarked than a grocery store or a stationery store or a computer store.
Of course, as with most trademark disputes, what’s truly at stake here isn’t linguistics, but a big fat wad of consumer goodwill. Having previously been quite uncomfortable with the idea of buying additional software for his mobile phone, Joe Consumer has nowadays grown quite accustomed to dropping little chunks of change on smartphone apps and the terminology that sets his mind at ease most readily is indeed “app store.” Preventing others from using that well established moniker would clearly be a significant competitive advantage for Apple and it’s pretty hard to argue with its contention that it’s responsible for generating the goodwill that sits behind it. Then again, we reckon Android’s Market, webOS’ admittedly small App Catalog, and other moves by the likes of RIM, Nokia and Microsoft itself with WP7, haven’t done the app store cause any harm either, so in purely ethical terms it still seems a little rich for Apple to be claiming the app store crown all to itself. As to the legal battle itself, it’s descending into quite amusing minutiae, but its outcome will be of great interest to most of the aforementioned mobile ecosystem purveyors.
Microsoft keeps gunning after Apple’s ‘generic’ App Store trademark, brings in a linguistics expert originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 30 Mar 2011 07:58:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Tags: app store
, intellectual property
In an acknowledgement of the internet’s overwhelming influence on the triviality we sometimes refer to as “real life,” the Oxford English Dictionary doyens have decided to add a few of the web’s favorite pronouncements to their lexicon. Among them are the standouts OMG, LOL and FYI, joining their compatriots IMHO and BFF among the proud number of officially sanctioned initialisms (abbreviations contracted to the initials of their words) used in the English language. Shockingly enough, the expression OMG has had its history tracked all the way back to 1917, while LOL used to mean “little old lady” back in the ’60s, and FYI first showed up in corporate lingo in 1941. Not only that, but the heart symbol — not the <3 emoticon, the actual
♥ graphic -- has also made it in. Just so long as Beliebers and fanpires are kept out, there's still hope for the future. A tiny, twinkling ember of a hope.
OMG, FYI, and LOL enter Oxford English Dictionary, foreshadow the apocalypse originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 24 Mar 2011 15:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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For those who worry that the language of fast cars isn’t as universal as it used to be, we offer this clip from ZRD Afterwork, a car show that flashes onto the suburbs of Paris once every two months. Some may see this as the worst kind of viral American culture infecting a old world host, but then again: if those kids screw up street racing, they get free health care. Middleswine took a more gimlet-eyed look at the weirdness of European culture revealed by the Ferrari Four:
was able to acquire a draft version of the new FF owners manual. Here is an excerpt:
Page 72: London Philharmonic Orchestra Mode
Your new Ferrari Four has a unique feature designed specifically for your road going enjoyment – the London Philharmonic. While in Park, turn the wheel 270 degrees to the left, reach underneath the steering column and slide your hand down the column until you feel two lumps. Slowly massage these lumps until you see a silhouette of a violin glow on your dashboard. Once the violin is alit turn the wheel back to center and enter Launch Control Mode (See: Page 53). Apply a healthy launch to your Four (preferably in Snow). As you begin to accelerate you will here a heavenly blast of classical music which will overpower your senses, this is normal.
This mode should be used whenever you are in the presence of a Lamborghini, Bentley, Aston Martin, Pagani, or Porsche owner. If London Philharmonic Orchestra Mode is not engaged you will hear snickers from them of “hehe looks like a Z3″, “wow that makes my Panamera look good”, and “you put 4wd, on that thing?”. Thankfully for you, we at Ferrari allow you to apply this mode to overpower them with the awesomeness of engine noise and a symphony orchestra, but mostly a symphony orchestra. Enjoy.
Send an email to Justin Hyde, the author of this post, at email@example.com.
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Commenter Of The Day: Le Fast, Le Furious Edition Video
When first we saw Fujisoft’s PALRO robot doing its thing we were charmed but, as it didn’t speak English, we had to adore it from afar. No longer. The little critter has obviously mastered our language quite quickly and can be seen below chatting with an even more robotic humanoid about such idle things as the weather, career aspirations, and just how great PALRO is. How great is PALRO? PALRO is really great — but humble. Inside that barrel chest is a full-fledged PC with an Atom Z530 processor, 4GB of flash storage, and an Ubuntu kernel keeping everything in check. It’s available as ever for educational and research institutions for about $3,600, but we’re trying to get one ourselves. If we can get it to type prepare yourselves for many more posts about software based on real Japanese cutting-edge technology.
Continue reading PALRO robot masters English, will never shut up again (video)
PALRO robot masters English, will never shut up again (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 21 Jan 2011 07:31:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Apple’s iOS devices currently support just 50 languages, out of thousands that are in use globally. Soon, that figure will creep up to 51. A fresh AP report notes that Cherokee Chief Chad Smith actually visited Apple and used students currently being schooled in immersion programs to “pull at the heartstrings” of Apple’s brass, and eventually, Cupertino caved. The tribe has been working with Apple to develop Cherokee language software for the iPhone, iPod and iPad, the latter of which will purportedly become available at a later date. Naturally, this momentous occasion wouldn’t have occurred without “years” of work, and while we’re sure members of the Cherokee Nation are stoked to have the only American Indian language supported by Apple devices, this may actually serve to provide hope for others who speak less prominent tongues. All told, just 8,000 or so individuals still speak Cherokee, and most of those are aged 50 and up. But if Apple’s willing to include support for that, who knows what else it’ll become fluent in during the coming months.
Apple bringing Cherokee language support to iPhone and iPad originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 27 Dec 2010 11:05:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, cherokee nation
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The mobile webapp version of Gmail is one of the popular ways to access Google’s email service and now the search giant has updated it to support 44 new languages. Popular features such as search, stars, labels and threaded conversations all work in the mobile webapp, similar to the desktop version. The new version was previously only available in U.S. English, but it has since expanded to Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (UK and American), Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Norwegian (Bokmal), Polish, Portuguese (for both Portugal and Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (for both Spain and South America), Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukranian, Urdu and Vietnamese. The interface should automatically detect your language according to the language you use on your phone, which makes things easier for you, as long as you’re running iOS 2.2.1 and above or any version of Android. Video after the jump.
Originally posted here:
Gmail Webapp Available In 44 New Languages