Watson’s Potty Mouth

A bit of amusement for a Sunday morning.

It seems that the IBM Watson computer, the one that bested the Jeopardy! champs, developed a foul mouth after being given access to the Urban Dictionary. Watson is seven years old; so the behavior seems age appropriate.

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Video: The Value of Translators

A clever video that makes an economic and social point on the value of work translators do:

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Adding Twerk and Other Slang Words to “The Dictionary”

As usual, John McIntyre sums up my feelings on the matter.

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How Many Languages?

Geoffrey Pullum examines the question.

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Podcast: Evolution of Language

I listen to a lot of podcasts, and one that I regularly download is Desiree Schell’s Skeptically Speaking. It’s a weekly syndicated radio program out of Edmonton, Alberta that discusses a variety of topics related to science, the scientific method, and critical thinking.

Schell’s 19 July 2013 episode is on the evolution of language and features an interview with Noam Chomsky in which the MIT linguist explains his hypothesis of universal grammar, UC Berkeley anthropologist Terrence Deacon who dispute Chomsky’s claim that language is biologically and genetically based, and biologist Con Slobodchikoff, who discusses his work animal language.

If you’re interested but don’t know much about the topic, it’s well worth a listen. Those who have read widely on the subject, however, will probably not find much new.

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