Saturday, October 21, 2006

Why We Can Be Confident of Turing Test Capability Within a Quarter Century

Why We Can Be Confident of Turing Test Capability Within a Quarter Century: "Computer language translation continues to improve gradually. Because this is a Turing-level task—that is, it requires full human-level understanding of language to perform at human levels—it will be one of the last application areas to compete with human performance. Franz Josef Och, a computer scientist at the University of Southern California, has developed a technique that can generate a new language-translation system between any pair of languages in a matter of hours or days. All he needs is a 'Rosetta stone'—that is, text in one language and the translation of that text in the other language—although he needs millions of words of such translated text. Using a self-organizing technique, the system is able to develop its own statistical models of how text is translated from one language to the other and develops these models in both directions.
This contrasts with other translation systems, in which linguists painstakingly code grammar rules with long lists of exceptions to each rule. Och's system recently received the highest score in a competition of translation systems conducted by the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology."