Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The things people say

It is funny what you sometimes say, and how horribly misinterpreted it can be, out of context. For example, over lunch today, Dare and I were talking about software to implement weblogs. Somehow that conversation produced this gem from Dare: "I play with my backend all the time."

Language comprehension is so much about context. In the context of our discussion, Dare's comment made sense, and was a testament to his geekiness, not to some vaguely obscene activity. (Although, I imagine there are those who might consider tweaking ASP.Net and C# code obscene, that obviously isn't what I meant.) This aspect of natural language is one of the reasons computers have such a damn hard time 'understanding' humans. What we say/write can have totally different interpretations in different contexts.

I have long pondered trying out some of the speech recognition technology out now, but am curious how it would handle my schitzophrenic lifestyle. My workday is a constant jumble of English (email and meetings) and code. I'm not even sure I know how to speak most of the code I write. Being a manager, I spend most of my time looking at code, so tight integration with search might do the trick. Long weekend ahead, maybe I'll wander down to CompUSA and finally break down and buy Dragon Naturally Speaking


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