Usefullness of computational linguists in reaching the Singularity

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Sat Jul 28 2001 - 13:29:30 MDT

This fall, I enter college for my formal education in the ways of
computer science and linguistics. So, my question is for some of you
with real life AI experience, how can a computational linguist be
useful in AI projects? I'd like to know so that I don't waste time
taking courses that might seem useful to me but end up not being.

I have thought about this some, so let me throw my ideas out and
please add to/correct them. First, I know that this kind of role is
useful in gathering information for the information backing that a
good seed AI is going to need to get started, but we're already about
20 years into doing this and I project that in maybe 10 years or
sooner pretty much all human knowledge is going to be archived and
we'll know how to best have an AI interface with that knowledge base.

Second, I have thought that the AI may just start spurting out to us
in vis own language that ve develops (this seems unlikely and I don't
expect it to happen, but there could always be a bug that causes the
AI to develop communication skills before ve has anything to
communicate with). In this case, having a linguist on hand would be
very useful. Similarly, when we have two or more AIs running and
able to talk to each other, they are going to develop a new language
that will be more efficient for them (we may not even recognize it as
a language, but they'll surely develop some means of communication
more efficient than English, especially since anything they come up
doesn't need to be spoken, eliminating a lot of the bulk found in
natural human languages). While the AIs will be very smart, I think
a linguist may still be needed to, if nothing else, teach AIs how to
analyze language and develop a means of translation (especially if it
turns out that AIs are really bad at pattern recognition compared to
humans and it will take them a few real years to develop algorithms
to do it properly).

Anyway, I'm curious what the list might have to say on the subject,
but beyond a few posts I think it will not be of interest to the list
in general, so you should probably direct replies to me unless you
are sure the list will find it interesting in some way (I think
flames count as interesting, or at least can ;-)).

Gordon Worley                     `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty            said, `it means just what I choose                it to mean--neither more nor less.'
PGP:  0xBBD3B003                                  --Lewis Carroll

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