Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Technology Review: Q&A: Peter Norvig

Q&A: Peter Norvig: We think what's important about natural language is the mapping of words onto the concepts that users are looking for. But we don't think it's a big advance to be able to type something as a question as opposed to keywords. Typing 'What is the capital of France?' won't get you better results than typing 'capital of France.' But understanding how words go together is important. To give some examples, 'New York' is different from 'York,' but 'Vegas' is the same as 'Las Vegas,' and 'Jersey' may or may not be the same as 'New Jersey.' That's a natural-language aspect that we're focusing on. Most of what we do is at the word and phrase level; we're not concentrating on the sentence. We think it's important to get the right results rather than change the interface.

[comments at slashdot]

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