Artificial intelligence

New research project in collaboration with Ordbogen.com to develop an artificial language brain

Researchers from the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science will develop a language brain based on artificial intelligence. It will function as an intelligent tool that helps writers compose texts in languages other than the writer's native language.

By Majken Brahe Ellegaard Christensen, , 6/25/2019

How is ‘meal’ spelled in Danish? And what is the German word for sunset?

Many people have to resort to dictionaries when writing a text in a foreign language. Dictionaries are practical for helping translate a few words here and there, but looking up a dictionary entry has the disadvantage that it interrupts the writing flow and can destroy the train of thought before the words are able to become sentences.

In collaboration with Ordbogen.com, researchers from SDU will now make the writing process much easier by decreasing the need to look up dictionary entries. By using artificial intelligence, Professor Peter Schneider Kamp and his colleagues in the project will develop a tool using artificial intelligence.

Can translate and correct spelling mistakes - simultaneously

Smartphones, writing programmes and mail clients usually have a built-in spellchecker that suggests other spellings if there is a slip of the fingers and the wrong letter on the keyboard is pressed. But this function is only helpful if the whole text is written in the same language. If a Danish speaker wishes to write an English text, the spellchecker cannot be expected to translate and correct typing errors if the text also includes a word in Danish.

- Digital dictionaries as we know them from things like smartphones draw on statistics. Thousands of books have been scanned, and then the words which most often appear together in a given language are registered. After that, the digital dictionary can provide a better suggestion if you make a spelling mistake - simply because it knows which words go together, explains the professor from SDU.

The new language brain is to be based on artificial intelligence and will not only 'learn' which words go together in the same language, but also which words the writer means when a word from a different language suddenly appears in the text. Even if it is spelled incorrectly.

Assistance for both lawyers and school pupils

As well as taking into consideration spelling mistakes and different languages, the language brain will also be able to account for different professional groups. It is simply necessary, particularly when different languages are combined.

- Words can have different meanings depending on the context, and this becomes even more important when we must take into account texts in which different languages are mixed together, as things like synonyms and meaning are different across languages. Our tool will therefore have to distinguish between whether it is a lawyer or a school pupil who is using it, says Schneider Kamp.

The ambition is to reduce the amount of time a writer spends looking up words and writing styles so that they can instead focus on what they are doing: namely, writing a text.

Big ambitions from Ordbogen

Ordbogen has already invested DKK 10 million in the project, and they expect to spend at least as much again in the coming years. The artificial brain is called 'Write Assistant' and is expected to be the next big product Ordbogen can offer their clients.

Co-owner and CVO (Cheif Visionary Officer), Michael Walther, is very enthusiastic about the collaboration:

- Communication and understanding between people is one of the most important things in the world. Write Assistant will be an important piece in the puzzle to help boost our ability to communicate and ultimately understand each other. We see the project as a unique opportunity to combine the newest research from SDU and our collaboration partners, directly resulting in a product that will be of great value for the user.

In addition to Ordbogen, SDU is also collaborating with the University of Copenhagen and Innovationsfonden.

 

About the project

The project began in spring 2019, and it is expected to take 3 years before the first version is ready.

On 1st May, Peter Schneider Kamp employed a PhD student who will work full-time on the project for the next 3 years. The PhD is partially financed by Ordbogen and Innovationsfonden.

The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at SDU has a group dedicated to research in artificial intelligence.

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