Why are humanities important?

Language and culture are essential to gain access to information in the post-industrial, global society

  • It's a nice machine, but how do I get what I need?
  • With the Web spanning the whole world, we can no longer use mono-lingual, mono-cultural solutions.  Current efforts are insufficient.
  • With information channels everywhere, we need to deal with content (multimedia content accounts for 5 % of European GDP)
  • Languages that are not 'digitized' will not survive in mainstream socio-economic communication
Therefore, integrating the human sciences in computing is not a luxury, but a necessity.

Case: Human Language Technologies

  • "Speech is not just the future of Windows, but the future of computing itself" (Bill Gates).
  • "Linguists leap to the Web" (Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2000).
  • 13 of 18 technical employees at Quizit Technologies have linguistics degrees
  • 10 of 30 employees at Cymfony have linguistics Ph.D.s.
  • Lernout and Hauspie (Flanders) employs more than 1,100 linguists.
  • Important focal point in R&D programmes (e.g. Verbmobil).