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Re: Re (tilly) 1: Larry vs. Joel vs. Ovid

by Ovid (Cardinal)
on Nov 21, 2001 at 04:03 UTC ( #126682=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re (tilly) 1: Larry vs. Joel vs. Ovid
in thread Larry vs. Joel vs. Ovid

tilly wrote:

And IMO criticizing Larry Wall for a point he didn't make is just plain unfair.

Mea Culpa :( I realize now that the root post came across differently from my intentions. I think Larry has an excellent idea. I just don't think most people (and that includes myself) have the skill to implement it.

I think, though, that your 'bathroom' analogy illustrates the difference between humans and computer (and demonstrates the breakdown of the analogy). A human is much better at interpreting meaning than a computer, but we still get things wrong. If I say "I want to hit the man with the shoe", technically, that means "There is a man with a shoe and I want to hit him." Many people, though, would incorrectly interpret this as "I have a shoe and I want to hit the man with it." That's what I mean when I think that people are often bad at liberally accepting input.

Now, if I feed that same sentence in a computer that has algorithms to understand English grammar, it may parse the grammar correctly, but get my intent wrong if I really did mean that I have a shoe that I want to hit someone with. How can a computer determine intent if the sentence fits the grammatical rules but doesn't mean what I meant? The more liberal we get, the more we open the room for ambiguity. The more paths a program can take to get to a solution, the more paths there are for bugs.

This is all about finding a good middle ground. That's tough to do.


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