Tuesday, 25 January 2011

AI is No Longer a Dirty Word

I recently did a search for Artificial Intelligence London, and then looked at the results on a map. By doing so, I discovered a company called Cognitive Match. They're a start-up whose product aims to customise a client's website to match a user's needs on the fly. What particularly caught my attention was the following quote
Our software combines mathematics with psychology and artificial intelligence to give your customers what they want.
It's very unusual to see anyone outside the games industry use the term Artificial Intelligence for something they're actually selling. The reasons for this are largely historical. A few years ago, a lot of people made rather overhyped claims for what AI would be able to do, which didn't match up with what it could actually do at the time. This created the impression that anything that was described as Artificial Intelligence belonged in the lab, and wasn't likely to turn into a usable product in the forseeable future.

There's a gradual change in the perception of AI going on. This is partly because researchers have been taking a more pragmatic approach to AI, and partly because the internet is making large datasets more readily available. Good data is the limiting factor in most AI applications, so, the more data is available, the better AI works.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Coming Soon on Doctor Who

Doctor Who 2011 Trailer

This was shown after the Doctor Who Christmas special. It promises a lot of things to look forward to, including -
  • Georgians
  • Nazis (bet they'd get on with the Daleks)
  • The Doctor says he's "been running, faster than I've ever run. Now it's time for me to stop." ...
  • then makes outrageous demands of a lot of armed men.
  • Whenever the Doctor says his hat is cool, River Song shoots it.
  • "We've been recruited." "Recruited by who?"
  • The interior of a ship like the one from The Lodger. Bet that's something to do with The Silence.
  • Sinister figure in a spacesuit. Are the Vashta Nerada back?
  • River Song (apparently) nude. That'll bump up my search ratings... (as the actress said to the bishop).
  • The Ood
  • Sinister dolls
  • That writing on Amy's face reminds me of something.
  • "My life in your hands, Amelia Pond."
  • "One thing I can tell you... Monsters are real" Is that a Grey that's got Rory cornered?

Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Creating a langauge with clustering algorithms

I recently posted this at the Conlang Mailing List, but I thought it was worth putting up here.

Define a phonology for a language. Make sure you know what all its
distinctive features are.

Generate a very large set of wordforms for the language using an
automatic vocabulary generator.

Calculate the difference between each pair of wordforms in the
vocabulary, using a modified version of the Levenshtein Distance, where
the cost of an insertion or deletion is the total number of distinctive
features in the language's phonology, and the cost of a substitution is
the number of features that differ between the substituted phonemes.

Cluster the wordforms so that each wordform belongs to the same cluster
as its nearest neighbour.

Explore the clusters, assigning related meanings to related wordforms.
Make notes of how changes of form relate to changes of meaning, so that
they can be reapplied later - if the software is clever enough, once
you've annotated a process that applies to two wordforms, it can search
the dataset for other pairs of wordforms where the same process may be

This could be a good way of generating non-concatenative morphologies,
and simulating the effects of analogy on language development.

What do people think? Anyone like to have a go at implementing it?