Perspectives on Language and
Dipartimento di Informatica
Università di Pisa
Università di Pisa
Language and Intelligence
“Understanding cannot be measured by
external behavior; it is an internal metric
of how the brain remembers things and
uses its memories to make predictions”.
“The difference between the intelligence of
humans and other mammals is that we
Jeff Hawkings, “On Intelligence”, 2004
All the different regions of the neocortex
look pretty much exactly the same.
To understand spoken language, scientists
build algorithms based on rules of
grammar, syntax, and semantics.
But if Mountcastle is correct, the algorithm
of the cortex must be expressed
independently of any particular function or
The brain uses the same process to see as
to hear. The cortex does something
universal that can be applied to any type
of sensory or motor system.
The brain uses vast amounts of
memory to create a model of the
world. Everything you know and
have learned is stored in this model.
The brain uses this memory
model to make continuous
predictions of future events. It is the
ability to make predictions about the
future that is the crux of intelligence.
Prediction is the primary function of the
All behavior is a byproduct of
The neocortex is uniform.
The neocortex stores sequences of
The patterns stored in the neocortex can
be recalled in an auto
The patterns stored in the neocortex must
be stored using an invariant
Perceptual processing is hierarchical.
“Spoken and written words are just patterns
in the world…
The syntax and semantics of language are
not different from the hierarchical
structure of everyday objects.
We associate spoken words with our
memory of their physical and semantic
Through language one human can invoke
memories and create next justapositions
of mental objects in another human.”
David Lowe: Local Invariant Feature
Music Genoma Project
Alain Berthoz. Sense du Movement
Perception and cognition are inherently
predictive, functioning to allow us to anticipate
the consequences of current or potential actions.
The brain acts like a simulator that is constantly
inventing models to project onto the changing
world, models that are corrected by steady,
minute feedback from the world. We move in the
direction we are looking, anticipate the trajectory
of a falling ball, recover when we stumble, and
continually update our own physical position, all
thanks to this sense of movement.
Omega Description Logic (1979)
Assume that knowledge is represented in
conceptual taxonomies rather than flat
predicates as in FOL
Evidence from psychometric studies
Danny Hillis planned to use Omega on
Problem: how to build ontologies?
Acquire from learning
RDF: derived from description logics
OWL (= DAML+OIL): Web Ontology
Skeptical of Semantic Web approach,
for several reasons:
Favor approaches based on learning
through large corpora and
Cognitive Web based on the Memory
invariant forms: documents
broad connectivity: the Net
nested feedback loops:aggregation
Text Analytics, Text Mining
Relation Extraction from parse trees
Semantic Role Labeling
Intent, Opinion Mining
Susan Blackmore: Meme Machine
Meme: units of cultural transmission
Role of imitation in humans
Explores the meme
gene parallels and derives an
interesting framework for explaining the unusual
size of the human brain and the origins of
consciousness, language, altruism, religion, and
A. Berthoz. The brain's sense of
movement. Harvard University Press
J. Hawkins, S. Blakeslee. On
Intelligence. Times Books, 2004.
S. Blackmore. Meme Machine.
Themes for discussion
Lenci: linguaggio e cognizione
Esuli Sebastiani: opinion mining?
Semantic Web: Razvan Popescu