Raffael Cavallaro <raffaelcavallaro@pas-d'espam-s'il-vous-plait-mac.com> wrote:
| The hallmark of the kind of symbolic communication typically required
| to interface with computers (as opposed to symbolic communication with
| fellow human beings a.k.a "natural language") is that computers don't
| "get" context - everything has to be explicitly spelled out for them.
This was once true, but is no longer compeletly so. There has been
a *lot* of work in the past few years in the area of speaker-independent
voice recognition (SIVR) and context-dependent speech parsing. Some
of it comes under the rubric of "voice browsers" or"VoiceXML" with
stochastic Nth-order Markov language models ("N-Gram"), e.g.:
Considerable success has also been shown by research such as MIT's
I don't recall the phone number, but they had a demo running a while
back that was *quite* startling in the amount of "conversational
context" it could make use of. It could do stuff like this [I've
recalled it as best I can, and trimmed its responses heavily for
It: How may I help you?
Me: What's the weather in Boston tomorrow afternoon?
It: The weather for Boston, MA, for Monday afternoon,
September 19th, is forecast to be mostly cloudy,
with a slight chance of rain. ...
Me: And the temperature?
It: The temperature for Boston, MA, for Monday afternoon,
September 19th, is forecast to be 65-75 degrees Farenheit?
Me: What's that in Centigrade?
It: 65-75 degrees Farenheit is 18-24 degrees Celcius.
Me: How about for Dallas?
It: The temperature for Dallas, TX, for Monday afternoon,
September 19th, is forecast to be 29-32 degrees Celcius.
Me: How about in the evening?
It: The temperature for Dallas, TX, for Monday evening,
September 19th, is forecast to be 21-24 degrees Celcius.
Me: And the weather?
It: The weather for Dallas, TX, for Monday evening,
September 19th, is forecast to be clear, with visibility
in excess of 5 miles.
...and so on. Oh, and if at that point you asked it about "Paris",
it would ask you back, "Do you mean Paris, TX, or Paris, France?"
Rob Warnock <firstname.lastname@example.org>
627 26th Avenue <URL:http://rpw3.org/>
San Mateo, CA 94403 (650)572-2607