Posts Tagged ‘Noam Chomsky’

Noam Chomsky & Peter Norvig on the Path of AI

Yarden Katz of The Atlantic recently shared Noam Chomsky’s thoughts on where the acclaimed linguist thinks that artificial intelligence has gone wrong. Katz writes, “In May of last year, during the 150th anniversary of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a symposium on “Brains, Minds and Machines” took place, where leading computer scientists, psychologists and neuroscientists gathered to discuss the past and future of artificial intelligence and its connection to the neurosciences. The gathering was meant to inspire multidisciplinary enthusiasm for the revival of the scientific question from which the field of artificial intelligence originated: how does intelligence work? How does our brain give rise to our cognitive abilities, and could this ever be implemented in a machine?”

He goes on, “Noam Chomsky, speaking in the symposium, wasn’t so enthused. Chomsky critiqued the field of AI for adopting an approach reminiscent of behaviorism, except in more modern, computationally sophisticated form. Chomsky argued that the field’s heavy use of statistical techniques to pick regularities in masses of data is unlikely to yield the explanatory insight that science ought to offer. For Chomsky, the ‘new AI’ — focused on using statistical learning techniques to better mine and predict data — is unlikely to yield general principles about the nature of intelligent beings or about cognition.”

Katz adds, “This critique sparked an elaborate reply to Chomsky from Google’s director of research and noted AI researcher, Peter Norvig, who defended the use of statistical models and argued that AI’s new methods and definition of progress is not far off from what happens in the other sciences.”

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Image: Courtesy Flickr/ jeanbaptisteparis

Wavii At Work: CEO Adrian Aoun Explains How Service Conceptually Organizes The Web Around Events

Wavii made waves when it launched  its automated, algorithm-driven news aggregation service in April, which has been billed as making Facebook out of Google. But what makes Wavii work? When The Semantic Web Blog found a picture in Wavii.com’s Flickr photostream featuring the word “predicates” on a white board, it was time to discover whether Semantic Web standards had anything to do with its engine.

Turns out, RDF is not at play here. But natural language processing certainly factors in, albeit from the perspective of information extraction and being almost entirely machine-learning based rather than deep-parsing oriented. The service’s technology is influenced by the expert machine-reading NLP work being done at the University of Washington, where Wavii advisor Oren Etzioni is a professor of computer science.

But Wavii CEO and founder Adrian Aoun can credit growing up in a household where his father was a linguist — a student of Noam Chomsky – for originally sparking his interest in how language works. Whenever his dad would have a debate about a language construct with his fellow MIT buddies, he says, “they’d turn to me and say which one sounds better….The irony is that they’re arguing over the rules, but they acknowledge the right answer is whatever humans do.”

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