Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Do machines understand more than they did?

Abstract

To be able to communicate in ordinary English, a machine must have access to common sense information about the real world. The first computer systems to attempt such communication lived in very limited worlds. Now, with a “second generation” of programs, those worlds are widening, although the exact significance of the recent advances is still in dispute.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. Lighthill, J., in Artificial Intelligence: a paper symposium, 5–16 (Science Research Council 1973).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Winograd, T., Understanding Natural Language (Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 1972).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  3. Hewitt, C., in Proc. Internal. Joint Conf. on Artificial Intelligence, 295–301 (Mitre Bedford, Massachusetts, 1969).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Halliday, M. A. K., in Foundations of Language, 6, 322–361 (1970).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bobrow, D., in Semantic Information Processing, 133–215, edit by Minsky, M., (MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachussetts, 1968).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Wittgenstein, L., Philosophical Investigations (Blackwell, Oxford, 1953).

    MATH  Google Scholar 

  7. Kuhn, T. S., The structure of scientific revolutions, 2nd ed. (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1970).

    Google Scholar 

  8. Chomsky, N., Syntactic Structures, (Mouton, The Hague, 1957).

    MATH  Google Scholar 

  9. Rubin, A., Grammar for the people, (MIT, Artificial Intelligence Lab. Memo No. 282, 1973).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Simmons, R. F., Some semantic structures for representing English meanings, Tech. p. no. NL-1 (University of Austin, Texas, 1970).

    Google Scholar 

  11. Schank, R., Goldman, N., Rieger, C., and Riesbeck, C., in Advanced Papers of the Third International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 255–261 (Stanford Resesrch Institute, 1973).

    Google Scholar 

  12. Wilks, Y., ibid. 270–277.

  13. Charniak, E., ibid. 337–343.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Wilks, Y. Do machines understand more than they did?. Nature 252, 275–278 (1974). https://doi.org/10.1038/252275a0

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/252275a0

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing