RE: Pattern recognition

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Mon Oct 06 2003 - 20:07:27 MDT

Ambiguity exists in natural language because natural language involves
*lossy* compression of thoughts and percepts. Lossy compression is
necessary because to communicate our thoughts and percepts in detail would
take waaaaay too much time and effort, given practical realities.

Precise, unambiguous language exists: it's called formal logic. Formulating
thoughts and percepts in such terms may be valuable, but is extremely
difficult and time-consuming. The Mizar project ( shows that
formulating even *mathematics* in purely unambiguous terms is surprisingly
difficult (though quite possible).

The ambiguities of natural language are haphazard in their particularities,
but in overall design they are well-tuned to provide lossy compression
within error bounds found useful in everyday human life.

-- Ben G

-----Original Message-----
From: []On Behalf Of Perry E.
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2003 9:26 PM
Subject: Re: Pattern recognition

Robin Lee Powell <> writes:
> On Mon, Oct 06, 2003 at 07:46:07PM -0400, wrote:
> >
> Wrong;
> > A language that conveyed all information unambiguously, say Ferrer
> > i Cancho and Sol?, would have a separate word for every thing,
> > concept or action it referred to. Such a language would be
> > formidably complicated for the speaker: the green of grass, for
> > example, would be represented by a totally different word to the
> > green of sea, an emerald or an oak leaf.
> That is so mind-numbingly asinine I feel no need to read the rest.

Is it? There are human languages which have different color
distinctions in them than English does. It is also unclear where
certain distinctions should be drawn. What is a book vs. a magazine,
at the edge? (If you subscribe to "Granta", this is a quarterly
question in one's mind.)

Anyway, I strongly doubt it is possible to produce a language without


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