Piek Vossen

Piek Vossen

Can machines understand human language?

Piek Vossen is Professor of Computational Lexicology at the VU in Amsterdam and co-founder and president of the Global WordNet Association. Besides his academic career, he has also worked for different companies and received various awards. He was elected a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017, he won the prestigious Spinoza prize for his innovative interdisciplinary research in 2013, and he was appointed Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion in 2015 for its efforts in science.

His research focuses on the–sometimes unnoticed–complexity of something that we use everyday: language. He combines his research with computer science and technology, and is currently investigating how we can teach machines and robots to communicate and to understand human language (“Understanding of Language by Machines”). How do robots perceive the world and how do robots and humans communicate about these world when they see interpret it differently? How can machines trust humans and their perceptions? How can machines trust their own perceptions.

At the PhD Day 2018 Piek will be joined on the stage by his robotic companion Pepper Leolani! Join their lecture and get amazed by the complexity of human language, and reflect on what role machines and robots might have in our future society! 

Piek’s website

Piek’s staff webpage

Piek’s Spinoza Prize Project