Forbes Bitten by Sci-Fi Bug

September 1, 2015

The article titled Semantic Technology: Building the HAL 9000 Computer on Forbes runs with the gossip from the Smart Data Conference this year. Namely, that semantic technology has finally landed. The article examines several leaders of the field including Maana, Loop AI Labs and Blazegraph. The article mentions,

“Computers still can’t truly understand human language, but they can make sense out of certain aspects of textual content. For example, Lexalytics ( is able to perform sentiment analysis, entity extraction, and ambiguity resolution. Sentiment analysis can determine whether some text – a tweet, say, expresses a positive or negative opinion, and how strong that opinion is. Entity extraction identifies what a paragraph is actually talking about, while ambiguity resolution solves problems like the Paris Hilton one above.”

(The “Paris Hilton problem” referred to is distinguishing between the hotel and the person in semantic search.) In spite of the excitable tone of the article’s title, its conclusion is much more measured. HAL, the sentient computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey, remains in our imaginations. In spite of the exciting work being done, the article reminds us that even Watson, IBM’s supercomputer, is still without the “curiosity or reasoning skills of any two-year-old human.” For the more paranoid among us, this might be good news.

Chelsea Kerwin, September 1, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


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