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  1. #1
    Hyperion_ is offline Member
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    Default How does one go about teaching a program English?

    So for the past few days, I have been working on an idea that I thought was pretty cool. Basically the user gives the program a word, and it builds a sentence out of it. This quickly evolved in my head to me thinking that if I was going to teach it how to make sentences, I should be able to also teach it the logic to respond to me and have conversations with me. And so then came this question: how do you teach a program english?

  2. #2
    sabre150 is offline Member
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    Default Re: How does one go about teaching a program English?

    Though I admire your forward thinking I can't help thinking that you need to walk before you attempt to run. Some form of artificial intelligence is needed and universities all over the world are doing research on artificial intelligence and are really struggling. I suspect you need to work up to "teach[ing] a program english" by taking a large number of University courses first.

    I look forward to seeing you win a prize (Nobel ?) for research into this topic. Best of luck.

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    quad64bit is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: How does one go about teaching a program English?

    how do you teach a program english?
    You're missing the much bigger question, how do you teach a program anything? Machine learning is a doctoral subject. Not something you can just toss together. You're probably thinking of programs like Eliza and cleverbot, which don't *speak* english at all, rather, they just look for key words and parrot back something interpreted to be related. Cleverbot *learns* in the sense that it harvests user input to add to it's database of responses, but it has no idea what any of those things mean, and little or no knowledge of how to actually formulate unique responses.

    The closest we've come to something like you describe is IBM's Watson Watson (computer) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Note that it is a super computer working with >500G of data per second. Even then, it doesn't *really* understand anything you say to it. It just parses your input, and then creates massive correlation networks and takes a guess at an answer that fits your meaning.

    Even if the only thing you want your program to do is generate random but grammatically correct english sentences, the best you can probably hope for is something like the Automatic CS Paper Generator SCIgen - An Automatic CS Paper Generator which is very much like eliza and cleverbot mention above, but suited for a specific task of writing fake computer science papers. The sentences are correct, and sometimes even make sense, but you'll not the context is totally non-sensical. Nothing this program says really makes any sense, because the thing formulating the english doesn't know what it is saying - it just has a set of grammar rules and a vocabulary.
    Last edited by quad64bit; 08-24-2012 at 03:02 PM. Reason: typo

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