Panel Discussion

Dr. Sanjeev Khudanpur
What comes after deep learning?

The field of spoken language technologies (SLT) has been dramatically transformed in the last 10 years by the wide-spread proliferation of deep learning techniques, including systems for speaker identification and diarization, speech transcription and synthesis, speech translation, and parts of spoken dialog systems. Is this the end of the road for new methods in SLT? Is knowing how to train and deploy large neural models using a mixture of self-supervised pre-training and task-dependent supervised training all one needs to know in the future? Or is fundamental knowledge about speech and language production, perception, and cognition necessary for the next quantum leap in capabilities? Is there still a role for Bayes decision theory? What skills should new researchers to the field acquire? What should academia focus on and what is best left to industry? These and many such questions are being asked at all levels in our field, from the newest undergraduate entrants to the senior-most leaders. This panel discussion will be based on prior interviews with a number of senior researchers in the field. Panelists will debate some of their more thought provoking opinions, formulate and defend some of their own, and entertain a few reactions and responses from the audience.

Biography: Sanjeev Khudanpur is a founding member of the Johns Hopkins University Human Language Technology Center of Excellence. He has a secondary appointment in the Department of Computer Science. Since 2022, Sanjeev is the Center Director of AI2AI, the JHU + Amazon Initiative for Interactive AI. His research interests are in the application of information theoretic and statistical methods to human language technologies, including automatic speech recognition, machine translation, information retrieval and natural language processing. He organizes the annual Johns Hopkins Summer Workshops to advance the greater research agenda of this field. Sanjeev received a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, in 1988, and a Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1997. Since 1996, he has been on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University. Until June 2001, he was an Associate Research Scientist in the Center for Language and Speech Processing and, from July 2001 to June 2008, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science; he became an Associate Professor in July 2008.