Archives June 2017

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Neural Networks

This is the title of my presentation proposal for ATA58, the yearly conference of the American Translators Association (ATA), which will take place in Washington DC from October 25th to October 28th. The proposal was accepted and my presentation is preliminarily scheduled for Friday afternoon, October 27th, in the science and technology track.

artificial brain

I became interested in the topic after hearing various predictions that the translation profession will be completely taken over by machine translation (MT) by around 2020. Since I found these doomsday scenarios a bit exaggerated, I wanted to learn more about the topic. After taking several online courses on Coursera and edX on the subject, including several at the Master’s level which involved quite a bit of programming, I am now able to form my own opinion. I am confident that human translators, or at least certain segments will be needed in the near and intermediate future beyond 2020, despite the enormous advances in neural networks and neural machine translation. And by the time neural nets reach the so-called “singularity,” that is, they are able to think like humans, we will all be obsolete unemployed.

Artificial intelligence is a fascinating topic and I am looking forward to the opportunity to talk about it in the science and technology track at ATA58. However, I have not yet taken a course on natural language processing (NLP), which is the science behind MT. Thus I will not discuss NLP or MT, but I am considering this as a possible topic for a presentation at ATA59.

Below is the abstract of my upcoming presentation:

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Neural Networks – an Introduction

From spam filters to stock trading bots, the applications of artificial intelligence are already omnipresent. This poses important questions such as: Will my autonomous vacuum cleaner go on a rampage and eat the hamster? Do neural networks think like brains? What are the chances of a robot uprising? The presentation will address these questions and give an introduction to artificial intelligence, which is impacting all our lives, perhaps more than most people are aware of. However, the talk will not discuss machine translation and related topics. No knowledge of computer science or advanced mathematics is required to attend.