Plenary Lecture

Interacting with the Internet through Intelligent Agent & Natural Language: An Enabler for Global Development

Professor Emdad Khan
InternetSpeech, USA
Southern University, USA
Imam University, Saudi Arabia
E-mail: emdad@internetspeech.com

Abstract: In this Information Age, information is money" like "time is money". The largest source of information is the Internet. Hence, it is important that everyone can access the Internet easily and economically. It is needless to mention the importance of the Internet for education, employment, economic, social, cultural and other developments, and more. Internet is becoming an important and essential part of everybody's life. In fact, Internet has already become a key driver for almost everything, including the basic necessities – food, water, shelter, health and the like. For example, Internet information can be used by farmers to improve and increase food production, to sell food directly to the buyers bypassing middlemen; thus significantly improving overall return to the farmers, which in turn provides great incentive to farmers to produce more food. Similarly, Internet based research & collaboration using large biological database is helping to develop variety of genetically engineered food at low cost. Obviously, it is not just food, the same logic applies for many things in our life. Thus, everyone (including people at the Base of the Pyramid [BOP], & with aging & disabilities) should have the right to access & interact with the Internet so that information can be for everyone. Unfortunately, only a small fraction of population can access the Internet today resulting a large Digital Divide. Existing approaches to bridge the Digital Divide are important & good but not sufficient to completely bridge the Digital Divide. A good solution to completely bridge the Digital & Language Divides is to allow the access & interaction with the Internet using Natural Language and an Intelligent Agent. In fact, this is becoming a must for a very large population, especially at BOP. Moreover, it is an enabler for Global Development (including Economic, Social, Cultural & other developments with increased Global Peace). This lecture will describe the details of an Intelligent Agent, associated Internet Content & Form rendering, User Interface issues and Natural Language based User Interface (UI). It will show that a Natural Language Understanding (NLU) based Intelligent Agent (IA) overcomes the existing problems by automating the key tasks while allowing a natural user interface using user’s voice (or typing). Our solution not only makes it much easier to effectively use mobile devices & computers by non-technical, semiliterate and illiterate people, but also by technical people as the key tasks in a high end mobile device or computer now handled by manual scrolling (or navigating) and rendering by user’s eyes & brain are automated via the use of IA. While current approaches to Natural Language Understanding (NLU) produce good results in some specific domains, NLU, in general, remains a complex open problem. NLU complexity is mainly related to semantics: abstraction, representation, real meaning, and computational complexity. We argue that while existing approaches are great in solving some specific problems, they do not seem to address key Natural Language problems in a practical and natural way. We propose a Semantic Engine using Brain-Like approach (SEBLA) that uses Brain-Like algorithms to solve the key NLU problem (i.e. the semantic problem) as well as its sub-problems. The main theme of our approach for Semantic Engine is to use each word as object with all important features, most importantly the semantic. In our human natural language based communication, we understand the meaning of every word even when it is standalone without any context. Sometimes a word may have multiple meanings which get resolved with the context in a sentence. The next main theme is to use the semantics of each word to develop the meaning of a sentence as we do in our natural language understanding as human. Defining semantics this way help “biological reasoning” and minimize “mechanical reasoning” used in existing formal logic.

Brief Biography of the Speaker:Dr. Emdad Khan is the Founder of InternetSpeech. He founded the company in 1998 with the vision to develop innovative technology for accessing information on the Internet anytime, anywhere, using just an ordinary telephone and the human voice. As a pioneer in the Internet voice space, Khan is a frequent speaker at voice-recognition, Internet applications, bridging the Digital and Language Divides and other industry trade shows and conferences. He holds 23 patents and has published more than 40 papers on the advent of voice technology on the Internet, content rendering, Natural Language Processing, neural nets, fuzzy logic, intelligent systems, VLSI and optics. Khan’s acute technical knowledge and keen understanding of emerging markets has played an important role in the development of InternetSpeech’s first product/service netECHO, the only product available today that delivers complete voice Internet access. During his career, Khan invented, defined, developed and deployed worldwide new intelligent software products for micro-controller-based home appliances. He has also created and deployed speech recognition Internet applications. He has 20 years of experience with large semi-conductor companies, including Intel and National. Khan is doing active research. His current major interest is to use brain-like and brain-inspired algorithms to solve some open problems, especially, NLU (Natural Language Understanding) which is very well aligned for InternetSpeech’s next generation products & services to allow users (especially bottom of the pyramid people) to interact with the Internet using their natural language. He holds a doctorate in computer science, master of science degrees in electrical engineering and engineering management and a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. Khan is currently on leave from InternetSpeech and a faculty at the Computer Science department of Imam University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Khan is also a visiting Research Professor at the Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA.

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