Here is something computers and math cannot do (by definition I am
sure):  know whether I intend a restrictive or nonrestrictive clause
where it is optional.  Hence the pointlessness of grammar checks, which
do not seem to know any grammar.

>>> [log in to unmask] 4/10/2006 3:03 pm >>>
Three is an entire field called 'Knowledge Representation' which exists
do things exactly like this.

In regard to the recent comments on Diderot, there is a project called
which is intended to encode all of the common sense and other knowledge
people use (Cyc as in encyclopedia). For example, Cyc is supposed to be
to surmise and thus know that if Alice is the mother of Bob then by 
implication Alice is older than Bob. It would be able to build up a set
rules and facts that would allow it to understand how the world

Cyc is a massive database project that has been going on for many
years. Cyc 
was supposed to be able to take human-level queries about real world
and create useful answers. Now if Cyc were able to do this, it would be

known far outside the AI community. Since it is not, this is the answer
your question on the ability of mathematics to represent real world 
knowledge. Determining that the mother of Bob is older than Bob is a 
significant achievement for this program. Now consider this program 
understanding or writing poetry.

Knowledge beyond the trivial is beyond the scope of mathematics.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Vishvesh Obla" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, April 10, 2006 2:36 PM
Subject: (OT) Towards a speech of the machine ...

Written elsewhere but relevant to a discussion a few
days before:


A few days before when a few friends of mine were
sending me birthday wishes which led to further
correspondence when I remarked that after you cross a
certain age, birth days also bring in an acute feeling
of your age, a friend of mine  made a humorous remark
(from a Tamil song) : 'Andondru pOnal vayadhondru
kUdum.'.  I was struck by the beauty of the line for
the tint of sarcasm (which was humorous) it had.

Another friend who was not a Tamilian wanted to know
what it meant.  While I was stumbling at various
expressions to translate it so that it would also
convey that subtle sarcasm, my wife, who is a computer
programmer as well, had translated it without batting
her eyelid with a quick :

if year++ then age ++

I was stunned by that expression which I don't know
what to term as.  It wasn't translation, to say the
obvious. You could translate the lyric blandly as
'With the passing of a year, your age increases as
well' or, if someone had the ability to versify in
English, write something equally memorable (with that
subtle sarcasm).  But this was neither. It was an
entire transformation of an *idea* in mathematical
terms. For, the expression had the precise
mathematical equivalent of what the lyric conveyed.

I was struck by it by the questions it arose in my
mind.  Language is of course about conveying sense
through verbal and written communication, but what
becomes of communication when it becomes mathematical
? It sure does gain in great clarity and precision,
but I was wondering how oblivious it is of the
imaginative faculty that enriches language by its
creative breath.  The development of language goes
through various phases of alterations.  Various
changes are constantly brought in to it by various
factors as the development of its various dialects,
influences of other languages etc.  When the written
form of it gets standardized it brings in a great
change as well for many languages.  Change is
permanent, no doubt.  But I was a little concerned
about a development as this : that is, to express a
sentiment through mathematical terms.  For, I believe,
this change is going to stay in and influence stronger
than any other changes the human mind earlier could
adopt itself to or assimilate while still retaining
its innate sense of the breath of life a language has
in it inherently.  We have already heard of computers
composing music and poetry.  Is creativity a
mathematical logic and precision in expression as that
of that code which expresses the idea brilliantly ?  I
was wondering if in an age when Technology has
advanced at an unbelievable speed, mankind would
invariably be more and more pushed towards such
precise expressions possibly altering language to an
entirely different level that has been unseen

Are we seeing the *dawn* of it already ?   Or is it a
doom ?

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