An Excursus through Policy Issues — at the Crossroads of Data, Knowledge and Infrastructure

Nicoletta Calzolari
National Research Council, Pisa

I will highlight the importance of policy issues for the future of Language Technology (LT): issues such as standardisation, sharing resources, services and tools, adopting the paradigm of accumulation of knowledge and allowing replicability of research results. The challenges ahead depend on a coherent strategy involving not only the best methods and technologies but also policy dimensions.

LT is a “data-intensive” field and major breakthroughs stemmed from the use of large Language Resources (LRs). It must become also a “knowledge-intensive” field. The next frontier will focus not only on text or multilingualism but also around the concurrent use of different types of data, across sectors and modalities (social media, and visual and multimodal data) and the integration of text analytics with methods for capturing the full potential of the combination of various modalities and different semantic/pragmatic contexts. A critical point will be the adoption of consolidated methodologies of the LT/LR field (e.g. appropriate evaluation and interoperability) also when working on different types of data.

In the paradigm of open language infrastructures based on sharing LRs, services and tools, the only way for LT to achieve the status of a mature science lies in initiatives enabling to join forces both in the creation of large LR pools and in big collaborative experiments using these LRs. This will enable building on each other achievements, integrating results (also with Linked Data). This cannot be achieved without standardisation efforts. I will point at current initiatives within ISO with respect to standardising LRs.

This requires also an effort towards a culture of “service to the community” where everyone has to contribute. This “cultural change” is not a minor issue. I will mention how initiatives like the LRE Map, Share your LRs, ISLRN, are steps towards promoting the concept of Open Science, highlighting the role of ELRA and LREC in pushing towards this vision.