Understanding human language, like a human. And other tales of cognitive computing

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Understanding human language, like a human. And other tales of cognitive computing

Category : Abstract

Speaker: Prof. Noah Goodman, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Computer Science (by courtesy), and Linguistics (by courtesy), Stanford University

Human cognition is incredibly flexible, partly because common-sense knowledge is uncertain but highly structured. Probabilistic programming languages (PPLs) provide a formal tool encompassing probabilistic uncertainty and compositional structure. I will show that PPLs allow us to model human language understanding as social reasoning grounded in structured common-sense knowledge. This framework captures vague adjectives (“Bob is tall’’), generic language (“boys are tall’’), hyperbole (“Bob is a hundred feet tall’’), and metaphor (“Bob is a giraffe’’). I will close with some implications this work has for the future of cognitive computing.


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