timo.honkela at tkk.fi timo.honkela at tkk.fi
Sun May 6 19:52:04 UTC 2007

On Fri, 4 May 2007, Alexander Gross2 wrote:

> 1) The growing perceived failure of most branches of Strong AI, "mainstream
> linguistics" among them through its close association with MT. Since Chomsky
> imagines that language is a "switchbox" that can readily leap from one
> language to another, and since at least some researchers imagine language is
> nothing more than computer code, it should come as no surprise to anyone
> that MT has always been an integral part of Strong AI, whose fate appears
> ever more dubious. 

Thank you for the interesting comments, points of view and links that
you provided. The MT issue is discussed in depth in the following 
article: "Philosophical Aspects of Neural, Probabilistic and 
Fuzzy Modeling of Language Use and Translation". Proceedings of
IJCNN'07, International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, in print.

The article is available at  

Comments are most welcome! (The conference is organized in 
August in Orlando with a special session on Philosophical Aspects 
of Neural Network Modeling.)


Serious efforts to develop computerized systems for natural language 
understanding and machine translation have taken place for more than 
half a century. Some successful systems that translate texts in 
limited domains such as weather forecasts have been implemented. 
However, the more general the domain or complex the style of the text 
the more difficult it is to reach high quality translation. The same 
applies to natural language understanding. All systems need to deal 
with problems like ambiguity, lack of semantic coverage and pragmatic 
insight. In this article, some philosophical questions that underlie 
the difficulty of natural language understanding and good quality 
translation are first studied. These two areas of dealing with 
languages are actually closely related. Namely, for instance Quine's 
notion of indeterminacy of translation have shown that the problem of 
translation does not only hold for translation between different 
languages but similar problems are encountered when communication 
between users of same language is considered. The term intralingual 
translation has been used e.g. by Roman Jakobson. Intralingual 
translation relates to translation between languages and to the 
problem of sameness of meaning. In this article, arguments and methods 
of considering translation and meaning within the framework of 
continuous-valued multidimensional representations, probability 
theory, fuzzy sets and neural adaptive systems are considered.

Best regards,

Timo Honkela, Chief Research Scientist, PhD, Docent
Adaptive Informatics Research Center
Laboratory of Computer and Information Science
Helsinki University of Technology
P.O.Box 5400, FI-02015 TKK

timo.honkela at tkk.fi,  http://www.cis.hut.fi/tho/

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