Language Technologies Institute Colloquium

  • Professor and Chair of Linguistics, and Professor of Computer Science
  • Stanford University

"Does This Vehicle Belong to You?" Processing the Language of Policing for Improving Police-Community Relations

Police body-worn cameras have the potential to play an important role in understanding and improving police-community relations. In this talk I describe a series of studies conducted by our large interdisciplinary team at Stanford that use speech and natural language processing on body-camera recordings to model the interactions between police officers and community members in traffic stops. We use text and speech features to automatically measure linguistic aspects of the interaction, from discourse factors like conversational structure to social factors like respect.  I describe the differences we find in the language directed toward black versus white community members, and offer suggestions for how these findings can be used to help improve the fraught relations between police officers and the communities they serve.

Dan Jurafsky is Professor and Chair of Linguistics and Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University. He is the recipient of a 2002 MacArthur Fellowship, is the co-author with Jim Martin of the widely-used textbook Speech and Language Processing, and co-created with Chris Manning one of the first massively open online courses, Stanford's course in Natural Language Processing. His trade book, The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu, The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu, was a finalist for the 2015 James Beard Award.

Dan received a B.A in Linguistics in 1983 and a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1992 from the University of California at Berkeley, was a postdoc 1992-1995 at the International Computer Science Institute, and was on the faculty of the University of Colorado, Boulder until moving to Stanford in 2003. His research ranges widely across computational linguistics; special interests include natural language understanding, human-human conversation, the relationship between human and machine processing, and the application of natural language processing to the social and behavioral sciences. He also works on the linguistics of food and the linguistics of Chinese. Dan was born in New York and grew up in California. He lives with his wife Janet in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco.

Instructor: Graham Neubig

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