Monday, April 19, 2004

What this blog is about

The last post was mostly a test. What I want to do here is review computer languages that bridge the gap between computer language and human language in some interesting way.

Lojban is an attempt to make a human language somewhat more approachable by computers -- it has a yacc-parseable grammar that is syntactically unambiguous. In practice so far it has been used for communication between humans, not to specify or constrain a computer's behavior in any way. But it's a good example of an effort to think about some of the differences between the two kinds of language and find halfway points.

I do think that someday computers will be able to cope with human language. For programming I think we'll always need something a little more precise (like the language used in human legal contracts, maybe) to avoid some ambiguity.
But that day could be a ways off; why not meet the machine halfway for now? High-level languages have come a long way from raw machine code in doing this; I'm interested in seeing in what other ways computer languages can be more human without requiring outright artificial intelligence in the computer that uses them.

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