There are still many tasks which people can perform easily but computers cannot.
One of these tasks is understanding ordinary or natural language. We still don’t know how to program a computer to understand what we say in ordinary language, just as we don’t know how to program a computer to reliably recognize a face, or a road, a bomb, a pistol, or an ice-cream.
The need is so great that software exists for such tasks, but with very few exceptions it works too poorly to be useful. Nothing approaches human ability.
One common claim is that all these tasks are difficult because they rely on enormous amounts of general knowledge. Large, expensive, projects have attempted to codify general knowledge. But far from solving these tasks, the task of codifying general knowledge turns out to be yet another problem of the same kind. Nobody has been able to codify general knowledge with anything like human judgement or reliability.
Nobody knows why this is so.
We have spell checkers to check when we spell a word wrong. But there is still nothing to tell us if what we write makes sense. To a computer “there”, “their”, or “they’re” are all equally good. If they’re spelled right, you can write them anywhere.
For languages like Chinese, which have many words of this kind, users are constantly forced to stop and select the word they mean by hand.
And the task of understanding ordinary language is just one problem of this kind. In general you might say there is an enormous class of problems, what you might call “human factors” problems, for which there is no current effective solution, and nobody knows why. A solution for these “human factors” problems might be as significant as the invention of computing itself. And greatly increase our understanding of ourselves and the world into the bargain.
The purpose of this website is to suggest that the solution to these “human factors” problems is a re-evaluation of our expectations about how the world can be described. In particular the suggestion is that we stop assuming everything in the world can be described by rules.
For the very specific case of ordinary language, a concrete solution which does not assume rules is presented.
The solution is presented by this website is characterized as “chaotic”. This is because it suggests language does not obey rules. And because it is speculated there is a relationship between this structure beyond rules, and observed mathematical “chaos” in the real world.
Other than presenting this software for the improved analysis of ordinary, or natural, language, this website also collects numerous examples of related problems and theorizing. This is to provide support for the model, and suggestions for applications in other fields.