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Monday, February 25, 2019

Wikidata and Assistants

This was new and interesting to me, we looked at Wikidata early on, and there was little of interest to us. And it seemed that it was not being updated.   Now here a connection to assistants.   Fasinating details about how Wikidata is being used by Assistance.  Exploring some possible points of leverage. .

Inside the Alexa-Friendly World of Wikidata in Wired

HUMANS PRICKED BY info-hunger pangs used to hunt and peck for scraps of trivia on the savanna of the internet. Now we sit in screen-glow-flooded caves and grunt, “Alexa!” Virtual assistants do the dirty work for us. Problem is, computers can’t really speak the language.

Many of our densest, most reliable troves of knowledge, from Wikipedia to (ahem) the pages of WIRED, are encoded in an ancient technology largely opaque to machines—prose. That’s not a problem when you Google a question. Search engines don’t need to read; they find the most relevant web pages using patterns of links. But when you ask Google Assistant or one of its sistren for a celebrity’s date of birth or the location of a famous battle, it has to go find the answer. Yet no machine can easily or quickly skim meaning from the internet’s tangle of predicates, complements, sentences, and paragraphs. It requires a guide.

Wikidata, an obscure sister project to Wikipedia, aims to (eventually) represent everything in the universe in a way computers can understand. Maintained by an army of volunteers, the database has come to serve an essential yet mostly unheralded purpose as AI and voice recognition expand to every corner of digital life. “Language depends on knowing a lot of common sense, which computers don’t have access to,” says Denny Vrandečić, who founded Wikidata in 2012. A programmer and regular Wikipedia editor, Vrandečić saw the need for a place where humans and bots could share knowledge on more equal terms. ... "

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