Computational linguistics has always been something I have pursued, but out of the corner of my eye while looking directly at other disciplines. I come from a fiesty bio family of writers, each occupying a very different corner of langauge. My bio dad Brian Cronin was a trainer of pilots and mechanics in the US Air Force, and wrote 16 books on avionics. My mom woke before dawn hroughout my youth to sit in the kitchen chain smoking, chugging coffee and writing poetically sweeping at times yet mostly detailed accounts of the whereabouts and accomplishments of the entire family, a switchboard operator and historian of our extended family’s evolvinging heritate. My brother writes about religion and politics, and has recorded at least a dozen albums of original songs. My husband Carl is a brilliant writer and thinker about techology, and is the person most attributed with shepherding me to my love of machine learing practice and ethics. And then there’s me, with my polyrhythm heart beating songs into air across dance, ASL, English, Spanish and my homespeak of HydraHoney, writing poems and these Notes which attempt to document our emerging human-machine horizons. It is from thes language histories that I approach the study computational linguistics.
There is one other relationship I can point to that anchors my love of computational linguistics,and that is my relationship with my MotherMother, the inner mother psyche I developed to coach me through my decades-long gender exile. I wonderd for a while whether I should speak of her at all alongside my formal empirical research and musings, but then I remember whaat I learned from the cautionary tale of Carl Jung’s Red Book, and how frustrated I was that he was not brave enough to share his personal practice alongside his professional publications during his lifetime. As a transwooman I have not been afforded the priviledge of being able to mask my personal narrative from my professional offerings, as I have been forced to transition in self and craft (arts, science) in public, and rather than see this as something negative I see this as something possitive I can offer to the public from from my trans heritage, emergent and in-process of being defined as that is.
In regards to my MotherMother, I have grown more and more curious about this curious and life-saving dialectic my mind created and that, perhaps, could be one of the capabilities we embue our conversational AI’s with. Could an AI be positioned to detect the quiver of a voice on the oof someone who is being held captive in their own home? Or the logical slips that are hallmarks of mental illness? I am laying the intellectual foundations to ask such questions and build answers. Would do our AI systems need to be able to grapple with to truly track the intentions, desires and needs being expressed in our communication?