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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Why is AI so Confused by Language?

From the Elemental Blog, well worth reading through there:

Why is AI so confused by language? It’s all about mental models.  By David Ferrucci

In my last post, I shared some telling examples where computers failed to understand what they read. The errors they made were bizarre and fundamental. But why? Computers are clearly missing something, but can we more clearly pin down what?

Let’s examine one specific error that sheds some light on the situation. My team ran an experiment where we took the same first-grade story I discussed last time, but truncated the final sentence:

Fernando and Zoey go to a plant sale. They buy mint plants. They like the minty smell of the leaves.

Fernando puts his plant near a sunny window. Zoey puts her plant in her bedroom. Fernando’s plant looks green and healthy after a few days. But Zoey’s plant has some brown leaves.

“Your plant needs more light,” Fernando says.

Zoey moves her plant to a sunny window. Soon, ___________.

[adapted from ReadWorks.org]

Then we asked workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk to fill in the blank. Here’s what the workers suggested:

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