Thursday, May 2, 2024

SILICON Joins as Supporting Member of the Unicode Consortium

[image]The Unicode Consortium is pleased to announce that SILICON has joined as a Supporting Member.

The Stanford Initiative on Language Inclusion & Conservation in Old & New Media (SILICON) is a humanities-led tech initiative at Stanford University aiming to promote and sustain Digitally Disadvantaged Languages and, more broadly, address digital inequalities. Bridging gaps between Engineering, the Humanities, Computer Science, and the Social Sciences, the initiative seeks to help build tomorrow’s digital tools: improved OCR algorithms and AI generative text models; more globally inclusive text corpora, interfaces, keyboards, and digital fonts.

SILICON is interested in accelerating the timeline for digitally disadvantaged languages to be fully usable by their communities, by facilitating ongoing conversation between people involved in Unicode’s encoding work, designers of the fonts and keyboards, script and language communities, and technical experts, linguists, and technologists. We will also be working towards usable OCR for newly-encoded languages, with an eye towards developing corpora for LLM training.

“In the 21st century, the intertwining fate of language death and digital exclusion underscores a critical challenge: the marginalization and potential extinction of diverse linguistic heritage. With over 98% of the world’s ~7000 languages categorized as ‘Digitally Disadvantaged Languages’ by the Unicode Consortium, the urgency to bridge this digital divide is unmistakable. SILICON is delighted to support the pivotal role played by Unicode, long at the forefront of advancing the cause of Digitally Disadvantaged Languages globally.” - Tom Mullaney, Professor of History at Stanford University and Co-Director of SILICON 

“We are excited to welcome SILICON as a Supporting member of the Unicode Consortium. By integrating SILICON’s interdisciplinary expertise, we look forward to working together to advance digital inclusiveness.” - Toral Cowieson, CEO of Unicode

Supporting members of the Consortium have a half vote as well as representation on up to two technical committees. A list of Consortium members can be found here.

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