Saturday, September 13, 2008

Musing

If you watch the OpenCyc Semantic Web main page as obsessively as we do, you may have noticed a new feature: a purplish box that displays random "thoughts" from Cyc, with the concepts linked to the corresponding OpenCyc endpoints. It's a quick hack, but it illustrates the sort of thing that you can do if you combine the power of the free OpenCyc vocabulary with some of the sophisticated AI that makes up the whole Cyc system. In this case, what we're taking advantage of is Natural Language Generation. Those sentences you see aren't just strings; they're parts of the Cyc Knowledge Base that have been converted into English, automatically. As well as NL Generation, Cyc has capabilities for some Natural language understanding too; we'll be demonstrating that in the coming months.

In the meantime, play around with the Random Cyc Thoughts - get an idea of just some of the sorts of things you can say with the OpenCyc vocabulary. And keep coming back here to check for updates.

Oh. A couple of final words: not everything that appears in the Cyc Thoughts is actually believed, as it were, by Cyc. Some of the thoughts are things the KB thinks might be true. Others are things that are known to be false, in the real world, and only true in a particular context (MicroTheory). It's also worth observing that some of the thoughts are obvious: but that's part of the point - computers need to know the obvious things that we all know, too.
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