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NLP, the perfect social (media) science?

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Language is the ultimate social medium: We don’t just communicate to convey information, but also to entertain, to gossip, to console, and much more. Social media is one of the purest expressions of all of these aspects of language, and often includes additional information about the place, time, and author of a message. This combination has allowed NLP to work on real, situated, individual language, rather than on abstract general corpora, and lead it into areas that were previously the sole domain of social sciences. These areas open up a wide range of exciting new applications, but also presents a host of new challenges – technically, linguistically, and morally. In this talk, I will illustrate both opportunities and challenges with some of my ongoing research, and end with a number of open questions that I believe will guide NLP for the years to come.

Bio: Dirk Hovy is an associate professor in NLP at the computer science department of the University of Copenhagen. His research focuses on computational sociolinguistics, the interaction of extra-linguistic factors, language use, and statistical models, and its consequences for personalization. He is also interested in ethical questions of model bias and algorithmic fairness. Dirk received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Southern California, and holds an MA in sociolinguistics from the University of Marburg, Germany. Dirk has authored multiple papers on a variety of NLP topics, and shared best paper awards at EACL 2014 , *SEM 2014, and WNUT 2015 .

This talk is part of the NLIP Seminar Series series.

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