Machines that deal with numbers and perform useful calculations have a long history, gradually increasing in power and flexibility over the course of several centuries. Machines which deal intelligently with words, and produce sensible prose, however, seem like a relatively recent aspiration. There were simple humanoid automata in Descartes’ day, and impressively sophisticated ones during the eighteenth century: such ‘robots’ naturally gave rise to the speculation that they might one day speak as well as mimic human beings in other ways. But surely Turing was the first person to propose in earnest a machine which could produce worthwhile words of its own?
|Submitted :||6th, August 2008|