Keynote Talk : The Language Grid for Supporting Intercultural Collaboration
In the beginning of the new millennium, we proposed the concept of intercultural collaboration where participants with different cultures and languages work together towards shared goals. Because intercultural collaboration is a new area with scarce data, it was necessary to execute parallel experiments in both in real fields as well as in research laboratories. In 2002, we conducted a one-year experiment with Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Malaysian colleagues and students to develop open-source software using machine translation. From this experiment, we understood the necessity of language infrastructure on the Internet to create customized multilingual environments for various situations. In 2006, we launched the Language Grid project to realize a federated operation of servers for language services. So far, four servers have been set up in Asia, and more than 200 language services have been registered from 22 countries. Using the Language Grid, we have been working with an international NGO for four years to support communications between rice harvesting experts in Japan and farmers and their children in Vietnam. During these experiences, we gradually understood the nature of intercultural collaboration and we faced different types of difficulties. Problems are “wicked” and not easily defined because of their nested and open networked structure.
Toru Ishida has been a professor of Kyoto University since 1993. He has been a fellow of IEEE and a member of the Science Council of Japan. He is a co-founder of the Department of Social Informatics, Kyoto University and the Kyoto University Design School. His research interest lies with Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems and modeling collaboration within human societies. He contributed to create PRIMA/ICMAS/AAMAS conferences: he was a chair of the first PRIMA, a program co-chair of the second ICMAS, and the general co-chair of the first AAMAS. His projects include Community Computing, Digital City Kyoto, Intercultural Collaboration Experiments, and the Language Grid.