Chapter 17. Languages

Few People Notice Language. It’s so common and so frequently used that it escapes our notice. Language is (almost) the only means we have of communicating with each other. Recall my definition of interaction: A cyclic process between two or more active agents in which each agent alternately listens, thinks, and speaks. That describes a conversation, and interactions with a computer should aspire to be like conversations. Not just any old conversations, but interesting, entertaining conversations. This, of course, implies that computers should use language to communicate with humans. In fact, people already use language to talk to their computers. (That language, though, is a cryptic, mashed-down fragment of real language.) ...

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