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Computers & Language (LIGN 6)

As technology advances, we're relying more and more on computers and 'virtual assistants' to understand and interact with us using human language. In this course, we'll talk about the approaches that we use to help computers process, understand, analyze, and speak our language, and we'll talk about some of the linguistic realities that make human language so hard for computers to work with. No programming or linguistic background is needed.

In this class, we'll explore questions like:

  • How do tools like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant 'understand' what you're saying?
  • Who gives Siri her voice, and how?
  • How do we teach computers to "understand" human text, and pull abstract meaning from it?
  • Can computers detect human emotions and sentiments in text?
  • How can these tools be so good, while machine translation remains so bad?
  • How will Google ever learn to respond "LIGN 6" when you type in "What's the best lower division class at UCSD?"

Join us for a small, project-focused class where we'll explore all these mysteries, and more!


Quarter: Winter 2019

Professor: Will Styler