RE: Unambiguous Language WAS: MEME: A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Tue Jun 19 2001 - 12:30:52 MDT

> Given that we cannot control how others will interpret a
> word, a perfectly
> unambiguous languange may be impossible.

It's true that a *perfectly* unambiguous language is impossible, but one can
clearly create languages that are much *less* ambiguous than natural

A key example is scientific discourse. In biology, for instance, a big
effort is underway to supplant informal language with standardized,
formalized language. The Gene Ontology Project is one example -- a
standardized vocabulary for discussing genes, proteins and related

The big problem with extending this approach throughout the domain of human
discourse is that using a standardized, relatively unambiguous language is
cumbersome and annoying.

Much of what we *want* to express is ambiguous. Because our minds
frequently work in terms of ambiguity. Natural language provides compact
and elegant representations of ambiguous thoughts.

Only in domains like science where precision is more important than comfort
for speaker and listener, will highly precise dialects flourish.

As long as it's humans who are doing the speaking, anyway...


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