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I'm in for a long hard slog

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For those unfamiliar with my blog, I'm working on building an algorithm which will determine if a natural language sentence is a contradiction or not. A contradiction, roughly speaking, is a sentence which is always false. So while 'I do not have a dog' is false it is not a contradiction because we could imagine a situation where it would be true. 'I am drinking rocks' on the other hand is false and a contradiction since we cannot imagine a situation where the drinking of rocks is possible. It should also be pointed out that we are only concerned with literal sentences since metaphorically speaking 'drinking rocks' is possible. I have now spent 4.43 years and 7712 hours on this project. I made a real big breakthrough back in April where I was actually able to predict the consistency of sentences to 90% accuracy in a public demonstration. Since, then however, it has taken a lot of work to refactor my code such that it is consistent with my new knowledge. I've still probably got about 180 hours or 4 weeks before I can fully refactor everything, but even after that's finished progress is still going to be painfully slow for at least the next 3 years.

I've recently decided to fully devote my whole life to this project. I've given up on my ambitions to get married and fall in love, that sort of thing. That was a rather hard decision because I used to be a poet and wrote roughly 60 love poems. I never succeeded in falling in love with someone, not even close, so at the age of 41, I've decided to stake my whole life's happiness on this project. I'm rather confident of success, it's just going to take a very long time before my dreams start approaching reality.

4 Comments On This Entry

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modi123_1 

31 July 2018 - 06:51 AM

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I've decided to stake my whole life's happiness on this project.

Something something something about all the eggs in one basket.

Seems like a poor plan, but so it goes.
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jon.kiparsky 

31 July 2018 - 08:13 AM
It seems to me that the set of English sentences necessarily includes propositions like "This sentence is false" or "Program P, defined as [code here], will terminate", so it seems that computer science has some harsh words for this project.

That's aside from the fact that sentences in human languages are inherently ambiguous and therefore not strictly amenable to machine parsing. For example, there are sentences like "Flying planes can be dangerous" whose meaning cannot be derived unambiguously without context.
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bobsmith76 

01 August 2018 - 01:51 AM

jon.kiparsky, on 31 July 2018 - 08:13 AM, said:

It seems to me that the set of English sentences necessarily includes propositions like "This sentence is false" or "Program P, defined as [code here], will terminate", so it seems that computer science has some harsh words for this project.

That's aside from the fact that sentences in human languages are inherently ambiguous and therefore not strictly amenable to machine parsing. For example, there are sentences like "Flying planes can be dangerous" whose meaning cannot be derived unambiguously without context.


Thanks for your interest. I've thought a lot about possibly responding but the fact of the matter is once I start writing about these topics I can't stop. So to respond would quite easily deprive me of 90 minutes so I'm afraid I'll have to let you have the last word on this issue.
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andrewsw 

07 August 2018 - 07:05 AM
Reminds me of Fermat:

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I have discovered a truly remarkable proof of this theorem which this margin is too small to contain.
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