Teaching Computers To Talk

TEDxAuckland: Whoa! Studios | Saturday November 14th, 2020

Teaching Computers To Talk

Alistair Knott is a linguist and cognitive scientist working at Otago University’s Department of Computer Science. He grew up in Brussels, attending the European School, a multilingual institution whose Babel-like environment sparked a lifelong interest in language. Ali studied psychology and philosophy at Oxford University, and then did postgraduate and postdoctoral work in artificial intelligence at the University of Edinburgh. He took up a lectureship at Otago in 1999, where he is now an associate professor. Ali’s research is in computational modelling of human language, with a focus on models of language generation. He worked on some of the earliest text generation systems deployed on the World Wide Web, and on an influential web-based human-computer dialogue system. His current interest is in psychological models of text generation: What are the neural mechanisms which allow people to talk about what they see and do?

Alistair’s book Sensorimotor Cognition and Natural Language Syntax is published by MIT Press this month.


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Alistair Knott is a linguist and cognitive scientist working at Otago University‘s Department of Computer Science.