Who’s Doing Common-Sense Reasoning and Why it Matters

By Catherine Havasi

Imagine for a moment that you run into a friend on the street after you return from a vacation in Mexico.

“How was your vacation?” your friend asks.

“It was wonderful. We’re so happy with the trip,” you reply. “It wasn’t too humid, though the water was a bit cold.”

No surprises there, right? You and your friend both know that you’re referring to the weather in terms of “humidity” and the ocean in terms of “cold.”

Now imagine you try to have that same conversation with a computer. Your response would be met with something akin to: “Does. Not. Compute.”

Part of the problem is that when we humans communicate, we rely on a vast background of unspoken assumptions. Everyone knows that “water is wet,” and “people want to be happy,” and we assume everyone we meet shares this knowledge. It forms the basis of how we interact and allows us to communicate quickly, efficiently, and with deep meaning.

As advanced as technology is today, its main shortcoming as it becomes a large part of daily life in society is that it does not share these assumptions.

Continue reading at TechCrunch.

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