14–17 Oct 2019

Make Alexa and Siri speak with each other: Toward a universal grammar in AI

Tobias Martens (whoelse.ai)
14:3515:15 Wednesday, 16 October 2019
Location: Westminster Suite
Average rating: ***..
(3.50, 2 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Natural language processing (NLP) engineers, voice interface designers, and IoT original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)




Universal Namespace (UNS) is a new kind of cocreation lab for deep tech innovations. Join Tobias Martens to discover the company’s first project, whoelse.ai—a universal grammar to make AIs talk to each other. It’s also a privacy-by-design standard for language processing in online services and the first intent-marketplace for affiliates.

Together with DIN e. V., the public agency for industry standards in Germany, UNS is developing a standardized API norm for NLP AIs. The goal of this DIN (later: ISO) standard is to make NLP systems interoperable and voice commands, as privacy-by-design encoded intents, dispatchable across different AI ecosystems.

Bias is a huge challenge for interpreting human language in AI, and different NLPs recognize the same voice command each at least slightly differently. Similarly, every user speaks differently—human language is arbitrary. New ideas to efficiently compute human language in AI are needed. Just as hypertext had to be invented for text internet, solutions are needed to make the content of human language linkable as voice internet. Tobias outlines UNS’s findings in developing a publicly accredited standard for human language in AI and presents the company’s first results.

As part of the standardization process, the company currently organizes a multistakeholder working group together with partners from industry and academia. Insights from the standardization commission’s work provide a snapshot of current industry NLP R&D challenges and collaboration opportunities, an introduction to the implications of explainable language in AI for technology governance, and outline new approaches toward the standardization of human language from a social science point of view.

Get involved in the development of the standard and check out further information and background information.

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A basic understanding of NLP systems
  • General knowledge of AI terminology

What you'll learn

  • Learn about NLP accountability and interoperability, standardization frameworks for AIs, and the governance implications of language in AI
Photo of Tobias Martens

Tobias Martens


Tobias is a technology sociologist and political scientist. He started whoelse.ai in 2013 with the idea to make Internet services explainable in a simplified, child-like, language. Since September 2018 the project operates as an R&D company based in Berlin.

Tobias studied Public Policy at the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance in Berlin, Technology Sociology at the University of Vienna, and European Studies at the City University Bremen and International University of Cairo. Since 2010 he works for public agencies, venture-financed startups, consulting companies, and in research and education. From 2011 to 2014 he was appointed as Young Advisor to EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes on the Digital Agenda for Europe.

  • Intel AI
  • O'Reilly
  • Amazon Web Services
  • IBM Watson
  • Dell Technologies
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • AXA

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