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O’Shaughnessy Ventures Awards $100,000 Fellowship Grant to Linguist Aiming to Preserve Endangered Languages

Starting With the Navajo Language, Jack Connor Will Use His $100,000 O’Shaughnessy Fellowships Grant to Save Dying Languages by Using AI

GREENWICH, Conn., March 15, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — O’Shaughnessy Ventures LLC (“OSV”), an investment firm that empowers creators, has awarded its first O’Shaughnessy Fellowship of 2024 to Jack Connor.  

Connor will train a large language model to communicate fluently in Navajo, an endangered language spoken primarily in the Southwestern United States. He will use existing and collected Navajo audio, video, and written content to train the model.

Connor will then build a repeatable process to use on the over 3,000 other endangered languages that exist today. He also aims to create a documentary to showcase his mission’s importance and demonstrate the human face of the Navajo language.

OSV’s founder and CEO, Jim O’Shaughnessy, commented, “We can learn so much about a culture’s history, traditions, values and more from its language. We are delighted to be able to support Jack in saving as many languages as we can.”

Connor said, “I’m humbled and incredibly excited by this opportunity, and thank OSV and Jim personally for funding such important work. Dozens of languages go extinct every year, so to get the chance to work with a prestigious organization such as OSV to turn the tide and save these languages is an immense opportunity to do good in the world. OSV is giving me the opportunity to fulfill my life’s work.”

About Connor

Connor is a linguist, programmer, and author with a lifelong fascination with languages. He spoke seven languages by age 25.

Connor’s interest in language and technology led him to the world of AI. Connor taught himself to code and has built many pieces of AI language technology. In 2017, he wrote “Siri in the Uncanny Valley,” a book exploring linguistic problems in voice technology.

In 2023, Connor began his project to preserve endangered languages using large language models. The world loses dozens of languages every year due to the increased dominance of major languages like English, Spanish, and Mandarin. Connor believes that losing a language is akin to losing an entire culture and its history. He decided to focus first on preserving Navajo, a historically important and linguistically fascinating language with an estimated 170,000 native speakers in the United States.

Outside of work, Connor has been a semi-professional skateboarder and has lived in ten countries. More about Connor can be found on his LinkedIn page.

About the Fellowship Program

OSV launched the O’Shaughnessy Fellowships in 2023. It is a one-year program for ambitious people who want to build something great. Fellows receive a $100,000 grant and access to OSV’s network of founders, investors and experts to support them in bringing their projects to life. More information about last year’s Fellows is available on OSV’s website.

In 2024, OSV will award ten $100,000 Fellowships. Applicants for the Fellowships will also be considered for its sister program, the O’Shaughnessy Grants. Under this program, OSV will make twenty additional $10,000 grants to promising creators, who will also be provided with access to OSV’s network.

Applications for the Fellowships remain open until and including 30 April 2024. Creators interested in applying can do so via OSV’s website.

About O’Shaughnessy Ventures

OSV is a creative investment firm that empowers and inspires creators to bring their ideas to life. Founded by Jim O’Shaughnessy, a pioneer in quantitative investing, founder of O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, and author of four books on investing, OSV aims to provide financial support and to partner in growing the next life-changing creative ideas.

OSV combines Jim’s deeply rooted interest in all things art, science, investing, and tech with his long-held desire to establish scenarios designed to help promising creators and their inspiring ideas succeed, regardless of age, location, job history, or level of education. For more information, visit https://www.osv.llc.

Media Contact:
Ena Gong
O’Shaughnessy Ventures LLC
(917) 355-7420
[email protected]

SOURCE O’Shaughnessy Ventures

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/oshaughnessy-ventures-awards-100-000-fellowship-grant-to-linguist-aiming-to-preserve-endangered-languages-302090072.html
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com

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