Thursday, August 1, 2013

does not compute

Albert Einstein's Time Card, 1944 (from: Retronaut)

"Although words with multiple meanings give English a linguistic richness, they can also create ambiguity: putting money in the bank could mean depositing it in a financial institution or burying it by the riverside; drawing a gun could mean pulling out a firearm or illustrating a weapon.
     We can navigate through this potential confusion because our brain takes into account the context surrounding words and sentences. So, if putting money in the bank occurs in a context that includes words like savings and investment, we can guess the meaning of the phrase. But, for computers, so-called lexical ambiguity poses a major challenge.
     'Ambiguity is the greatest bottleneck to computational knowledge acquisition, the killer problem of all natural language processing,' explained Dr Stephen Clark. 'Computers are hopeless at disambiguation – at understanding which of multiple meanings is correct – because they don’t have our world knowledge.'”
University of Camebridge
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