HAL uses Googleposted by Ron Beasley at 1/31/2005 01:46:00 PM
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Google's search for meaning
Computers can learn the meaning of words simply by plugging into Google. The finding could bring forward the day that true artificial intelligence is developed.I wonder if Yahoo search works too.
Trying to get a computer to work out what words mean - distinguish between "rider" and "horse" say, and work out how they relate to each other - is a long-standing problem in artificial intelligence research.
One of the difficulties has been working out how to represent knowledge in ways that allow computers to use it. But suddenly that is not a problem any more, thanks to the massive body of text that is available, ready indexed, on search engines like Google (which has more than 8 billion pages indexed).
The meaning of a word can usually be gleaned from the words used around it. Take the word "rider". Its meaning can be deduced from the fact that it is often found close to words like "horse" and "saddle". Rival attempts to deduce meaning by relating hundreds of thousands of words to each other require the creation of vast, elaborate databases that are taking an enormous amount of work to construct.