Artificial Intelligence–does it really understand what we’ve said?

Today I had my monthly zoom meeting with my linguistic colleagues, and we found ourselves talking about artificial intelligence. One of my colleagues, Debbie Dahl, recently wrote, along with Christy Doran, an editorial for Speech Technology Magazine entitled “Does your Intelligent Assistant Really Understand you?”

To address this, they put together a list of queries of the sort one might ask of an intelligent assistant like, say, Siri or Alexa.

Here are some examples of what happened.

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Good writers, good readers

Terrific explanation of the relationship between reading and writing from Brock Haussamen a few years back:

The most important job-related ability that an employer can assume when looking at a well-written cover letter is that the applicant can read well. A good writer is always a good reader. This is important, for even in jobs that don’t require any writing, reading — of forms and instructions at least — is usually essential. Good writing also suggests, though it hardly guarantees, that the applicant is capable of thinking clearly and has a solid work ethic.

But turn such equations around, and they don’t hold. A weak writer is not necessarily a weak reader, especially if the person has English as a second language; for non-native speakers, comprehending written English comes more easily than writing it.

“What Good Writing Indicates, and What It Doesn’t” 8/13/2012

Please, no more improvements

Oh my.

Have just logged onto the blog, and discover that … WordPress has made improvements.

More improvements, looks like. After the improvements of just a few months back.

User interface a mystery.

Fleeting, pop-up directions for restoring old user interface, now seeping out of working memory as I type. (Pop up is stored where, exactly?)

On the bright side, apparently I can now change text color.