Author Archives: W.P. McNeill

Word Vectors Make all the Différance

A big thing in machine learning-driven artificial intelligence for language processing right now is word embedding vectors. The word cat is represented to the computer not as a string of letters c-a-t, nor as an item in a vocabulary (which … Continue reading

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1979

Leonid Brezhnev sat in the small theater at the back of the State Cultural Intelligence Agency, receiving his periodic briefing on western media. Up on the screen an Englishman in oversized spectacles (Elton John–though that wasn’t his real name) sat … Continue reading

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Intension and Extension in Python

{n|0≤n<20 . n is even} intension = (n for n in range(20) if n % 2 == 0) <generator object> extension = list(intension) [0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18]

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Wifey

Part of speech. Part of life. Continue reading

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Every Time I Fire a Linguist Someone Cooks Me a Delicious Osso Buco

My career as an artificial intelligence engineer began in a master’s program in linguistics. There I memorized the International Phonetic Alphabet, played hunt-the-allophone, read the literature on control verbs and code switching, and generally made a good faith effort to … Continue reading

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It’s Frank’s World, the Rest of Us Just Live in It

Ferdinand de Saussure: Meaning is difference. Claude Shannon: Difference can be quantified. Alan Turing: Quantification can be automated. Go!

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At the Institute for Primate Communication

“NEW SIGN. WE MAKE. YOU SEE.” At first I thought I might have been misinterpreting BoBo, but he kept repeating the signs until it was clear what he meant. “YES YOU SEE” Dian added. “WE MAKE SIGN. YOU HAPPY.” Noam … Continue reading

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