Literature/2000/Silberman

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Silberman, Steve (2000). "The Quest for Meaning." Wired 8.02 (February 2000) pp. 1-5.

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  • The broad sweep of [Peter] Rayner's academic and cultural interests was a powerful influence on the young engineer, who says his mentor's insistence on problem solving over "hand-waving, headline-grabbing rubbish" encouraged him to think of innovative and practical applications for Bayes' work. It was over morning coffee with Rayner and other graduate students, says Lynch, that he first considered applying the 250-year-old theorem to the task of training computers to recognize patterns of meaning.
  • Susan Dumais, senior researcher of adaptive systems and interaction for Microsoft, notes that a Web surfer who types printer into a search engine or help system is probably not seeking information on writing code for printer-driver software - even if the word appears 100 times in such a document, yielding a strong keyword match. The average person is probably looking for information on setting up a printer, trying to figure out why a printer isn't working, or looking for a good price on equipment. The prior knowledge of what most users are searching for can be factored into Bayesian information-retrieval strategies. The ability of Bayes nets to snare relationships among words that elude keyword-matching schemes "points to the rich way that human discourse is generated," Dumais observes, "out of words not said and all the finely shaded ways of saying things."
  • Lynch sees the marriage of Bayes' ideas and modern processing power as characteristic of a new, more mature phase of technology - an era in which humanity will no longer believe it's standing at the center of the universe.
    "Rules-based, Boolean computing assumes that we know best how to solve a problem," he says. "My background comes completely the other way. The problem tells you how to solve the problem. That's what the next generation of computing is going to be about: listening to the world."

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See also[edit | edit source]

  • Cherry, Colin (1957). On Human Communication: A Review, a Survey, and a Criticism . The M.I.T. Press, 1966. [^]

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Gradient-optical-illusion.svg
The shade of the bar looks invariant in isolation but variant in context, in (favor of) sharp contrast with the color gradient background, hence an innate illusion we have to reasonably interpret and overcome as well as the mirage. Such variance appearing seasonably from context to context may not only be the case with our vision but worldview in general in practice indeed, whether a priori or a posteriori. Perhaps no worldview from nowhere, without any point of view or prejudice at all!

Ogden & Richards (1923) said, "All experience ... is either enjoyed or interpreted ... or both, and very little of it escapes some degree of interpretation."

H. G. Wells (1938) said, "The human individual is born now to live in a society for which his fundamental instincts are altogether inadequate."