Have you ever wished that you had Google wired directly into your temporal lobe? Wouldn't it be great if you could just think of a question and instantly get a result?
Well, we're not quite at that frightening point, but things are moving in the general direction. Linguistic Agents (LA), an Israeli startup, is bridging the gap between natural language and XML. In the not so distant future you might just be ordering your CMS around, via your Bluetooth headset.
Linguistic Agents' core technology is called Streaming Logic and is a human centered language platform that enables software to comprehend and act upon natural language (e.g., American English) queries and commands. In a pattern slightly different than the modern start-up, the platform has recently been released in limited beta after, that's right, more than five years of development.
Although we might disagree with the notion that the applications of this technology are “limitless”, it is difficult to dispute that the ability for computers to better understand and process your average utterances is compelling.
Taking online search from keyword to concept based searches, improving the relevancy and interactivity contextual advertising, and improving the, er, recognition of automatic speech recognition (ASR) are all areas where there are immediate needs for better, faster and more intelligent software.
Another area of focus is what the company calls Wireless Value Added Services (WVAS). In a recent statement a Linguistic Agents' spokesperson said that the WVAS market is expected to reach US$ 150 billion by 2011.
Smarter mobile devices are at least partially responsible for driving this growth. As covered recently, the ubiquity and inherent interface limitations of mobile devices provide a key environment for the utilization of intelligent speech and language processing software.
The industry needs plus the technology LA has to offer has been found so compelling that Streaming Logic recently received a Horizon Award from Computerworld Magazine.
According to the Computerworld article, the landscape is not without natural language competitors, but Streaming Logic is unique in the way it analyzes the relationships between words to determine the meaning.
The ambitious amongst you may be wondering how the magic works. With a name that even the marketing department can love, Nanosyntax is the most current theory of theoretical linguistics upon which Streaming Logic is built.
Computerworld's Drew Robb explains the processing engine as taking a statement in natural language and parsing it to determine what linguists call its “logical form,” an orderly representation of the meaning of a sentence. The software then automatically converts this into an XML format that can be used by other applications.
Linguistic Agents Application Stack
Linguistic Agents have high ambitions for their Streaming Logic product. They are currently targeting enterprises, operators of content-rich websites, portals and search engines. And if that brush is not broad enough, the company's rather un-tame longer term objective is to become “the standard Natural Language Understanding (NLU) layer for Web and software applications”.
And that's a goal we can all wag our tongues at.