technologies, recognition, synthesis, and natural language understanding; and, finally, the applications of this technology.
When the blueprint for this session was fitted together this session was called "Future Technology." The organizers felt that we should think really about it in a very "blue sky" sort of way. I was alarmed by the project altogether at that stage, rushed back home, and started reading about Leonardo da Vinci, H. G. Wells, and dreamed up a few impossible applications for speech recognition. During these ruminations, I thought, there are many interesting things we could discoverhow to navigate the oceans of the world safely or, possibly, information about the location of treasure ships lost by the Spanish many years ago. I am sure that squids and other marine animals could tell us a great deal about that. There is also the question of HAL or Blade Runner, Ed Newbard, and old Napoleon Solo who used to ask for channel D. However, after some discussion with the speakers today, they indicated they did not want this sort of stuff at all.
It was decided that we should talk about evolutionary technologyrather than revolutionary technology. So we are talking about what is likely to be possible in the year 2001. In passing, we might note that the ideas of some of our predictions are not all that far away. We have rough models of HAL right now; of Blade Runner, I'm less certain.
However, we have put together a very interesting program for this last session. Certainly, the three speakers are eminently suited to this. They have all made significant contributions to the state of the art in several areas. One of the things we decided to do was to change the order slightly so that Sadaoki Furui will talk first about ultimate synthesis/recognition systems to give us a flavor of his view of the systems that are likely to be available. And then our two other experts will discuss research directionsB. Atal, in the area of speech, and M. Marcus in the area of natural language.
The paragraphs above are a slightly edited version of an audio recording of Frank Fallside's introduction of this session of the colloquium. They are included here for two reasons. First, they capture rather well Frank's persona. As I read them, I can hear his enunciation of the words in his marvelous accent and diction, which ever so slightly betrayed the intended intellectual mischief. Second, of course, is the intellectual mischief itself. What Frank was saying was that predicting the future of technology is fraught with danger and is thus best approached with a bit of self-deprecating humor.
Before exploring that idea further, it is worthwhile to make a few observations about the views of the speakers in this session. There is no need to summarize the material as the papers are presented in