Saturday, March 18, 2006

Why computers will not take over our world

'Here is the relaxing thought: computers will not take over our world, they cannot replace us, because they are not designed, as we are, for ambiguity' - Lewis Thomas' late night thoughts on listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony.

Disambiguation in Wikipedia and Wikimedia is the process of resolving ambiguity—the conflict that occurs when a term is closely associated with two or more different topics. In many cases, this word or phrase is the "natural" title of more than one article. In other words, disambiguations are paths leading to different topics that share the same term or a similar term - Wikipedia guideline.

Lewis Thomas' The Lives of a Cell is published by Penguin, ISBN 0140047433.
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2 comments:

Richard Friedman said...

Disambiguation is one of those strange words that pop up in strange contexts. Actually, because the folks that put the Wikipedia together are computer programmers, they came across a situation in the informational architecture of their content that seemed a lot like a situation that occurs in computer programming .. where the programmer has written some code that could be interpreted in more than one way. Compilers, the software that converts programming languages into machine hardware instructions, don't like ambiguity. There must be a one-to-one mapping. The term "disambiguation" refers to additional information the programmer can supply that allows the compiler to make assumptions when ambiguities arise.

You wouldn't expect such words to pop out of the mouths of computer programmers, but many programmers have an interest in human language and linguistics as well. Especially those programmers who design languages and their compilers. So words like these form the domain of linguistics do find their way into conversation.

Now, let me tell you the story of the term "idempotent".....

Pliable said...

Thx Richard, and follow this Overgrown Path to disambiguate idempotent.