A delegation of Icelanders, including President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and Minister of Culture and Trade Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, met with representatives of tech giants Microsoft, Google, and Amazon in the US last week to discuss the incorporation of the Icelandic language into new technologies. In a television interview, Guðni stated that the meetings went well, with the corporations willing to increase collaboration with Icelandic language technology developers to ensure Icelandic could be used widely in the digital world.
Microsoft VP reads Icelandic noir novels
The Icelandic delegation met with Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of the Cloud and AI group in Microsoft. They expressed their thanks for Microsoft’s inclusion of the Icelandic language in their software, including Word, which is available in Icelandic. Guthrie revealed to the delegation that he is a big fan of Icelandic Nordic noir author Arnaldur Indriðason and has read most of his books.
Speaking to devices is the future
President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson stated that in the future, speaking to devices will be our main way of interacting with them: “and not just to ask our phone what time it is or what the capital of Costa Rica is, or something along those lines, rather this technology will be used in the healthcare sector, education, and so much more.”
The aim of the trip was to ensure that the technological developments that take place take the Icelandic language into account. The delegation was not on its knees, begging for that to happen, Guðni says, rather showed up armed with arguments and data about the importance of linguistic inclusion in the tech world. “We went to these technology giants with that in our suitcase and said: we’re going to work together,” Guðni stated. “We are going to invite you to cooperate and luckily we were well received everywhere.”
Read more about the newest developments in Icelandic language technology.