Animated Speaker, Part One

It's a hard simple fact for travelers above the 40th parallel: in the depth of winter, the indoor temperature is sure to descend quickly if the furnace isn't running.

This sort of sentence has been historically difficult for even the best computerized language bots: both of the kind of bots that attempt to understand human language and those other bots that try to emulate it. Computers struggle because the single sentence has a range of different embodiments that map physical attributes to completely different physical or non-physical attributes. Why does a furnace “run,” and what defines the “hardness” of a fact? Are seasons shallow as well as deep?

How did our language get to be like this, and why is it so easy for you or I to understand?

9 min read

New Decade, Day 1

“The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.” - Elliot Erwitt

Missing: 2018

More from the “missing Botzilla archives.”