Natural language Talent in the UK
An overview of the Natural Language talent marketplace in the UK in 2011
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Natural language Talent in the UK
Natural Language Talent in the UKNatural Language Talent in the UKIdentifying, attracting and hiring the Natural Language& Computational Linguistics professionals in the UK• Skillbase supply & demand • Salary overview• Academic & research activities • Barriers to market• Commercial development
Natural Language Talent in the UKNatural Language OverviewWhat do we mean by “Natural Language”?Broadly speaking, the Natural Language industry incorporates companies andprofessionals involved in applications of the theories surrounding the humanability to make and interpret language.Our primary areas of interest are non-clinical, and closely tied to the computingindustry. Computing applications of linguistic theory are primarily interested inadvancing artificial intelligence in some way through the use of language.R & D activities in this area include:o Natural Language Processing (helping computers understand and process human language input)o Machine Learning (allowing computers to learn new concepts or outputs based on large amounts of data)o Semantic Analysis & Search (using computers to automatically interpret the meaning of passages of human language input)o Speech Recognition (helping computers to interpret human language)o Text Analysis (using computers to analyse large amounts of textual)
Natural Language Talent in the UKThe UK SceneEstablished Academic Scene Beginning to PowerCommercial GrowthThe UK benefits from well-established academic ComputationalLinguistics centres. Of particular note are:• Cambridge (http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/research/nl/)• Oxford (http://www.clg.ox.ac.uk/)• Edinburgh (www.ilcc.inf.ed.ac.uk)• Sheffield (http://nlp.shef.ac.uk/)• Sussex (http://www.sussex.ac.uk/calps/)• Leeds (http://www.comp.leeds.ac.uk/nlp/)• Wolverhampton (http://clg.wlv.ac.uk/)This is in addition to a rapidly-growing number of academic activitiesin more traditional, non-computational Linguistics research, which istaking place in universities across the UK.
Natural Language Talent in the UKTypical Academic Research ProjectsExamples of real-world Natural Language researchtaking place in the UK right nowWith no particular emphasis or order:http://www.italkproject.org/ - aims to develop artificial embodied agentsable to acquire complex behavioural, cognitive, and linguistic skills throughindividual and social learning. Uses humanoid robot to learn to handle andmanipulate objects and tools autonomously, to cooperate andcommunicate with other robots and humans, and to adapt to changinginternal, environmental, and social conditions.http://divf.eng.cam.ac.uk/faust/Main/WebHome - The FAUST project willdevelop machine translation (MT) systems which respond rapidly andintelligently to user feedback.http://groups.inf.ed.ac.uk/ccg/index.html - Combinatory CategorialGrammar (CCG) is an efficiently parseable, yet linguistically expressivegrammar formalism. It has a completely transparent interface betweensurface syntax and underlying semantic representation, includingpredicate-argument structure, quantification and information structure.These are just a few examples, exciting and innovative NLP &Computational Linguistics research projects are taking place across the UKacademic scene.
Natural Language Talent in the UKThe Commercial EnvironmentThe UK is a great place to build NLP & ComputationalLinguistics teams. Just ask these companies….Speech Recognition Sentiment Analysis Text Analysis Language Input
Natural Language Talent in the UKSupply & Demand: Good TimingSupply is relatively strong, demand is growingThe interesting things about the UK at the moment is the relativelystrong supply of talent coupled with growing demand.Postgraduate & PhD students exist in fairly good numbers. Thereis strong supply of people currently working in academic researchroles.Generally, these people are very interested in commercialopportunities when presented to them properly.However, the strength of demand is growing very quickly.Computational Linguists are fast becoming in-demand: where fiveyears ago commercial opportunities were weak, the early dawn ofWeb 3.0 (the Semantic Web) is leading to a much stronger selection ofcommercial opportunities. We expect this trend to accelerate rapidly. Demand for Computational Linguistics professionals (2006 – 2011) (from indeed.com)
Natural Language Talent in the UKHiring ChallengesBecause if it was easy, it would be no funDespite the positive hiring outlook, wider labour market challenges foremployers are particularly acute in this NLP/Computational Linguisticsspace, because:1) It’s still very nicheAnd that means that numbers are low. When we talk about supply anddemand everything is relative; absolute numbers of people withmarketable skills is low2) Access is very difficultThese people are mostly postgraduate level individuals with strongpersonal and academic interests. They are rarely the kind of people whosit around applying to job posting and shouting about how hard they arelooking for work. They are unlikely to be “career-advancement-savvy”. Toaccess the talent, you need to work with people with deep industryknowledge and connections.3) Fear is prevalent at the momentThe labour market generally is frozen with fear at the moment: people aregenerally timid about changing jobs right now, primarily due to the endlessstream of negative news they are hearing. This problem is particularlyacute in niche sectors with strong demand. To overcome this, it helps tohave a great story, solid ideas and the help of someone active in themarket.