Geeks, Meet NELL

NELL is the Never Ending Language Learner, a project out of Carnegie Mellon that is reading the web and teaching itself about … everything.
I first spotted the reference here on IO9, but knew I had to post about it when the question got to “What happens when NELL learns English enough to become a Shakespearean scholar?”

Turns out that you can browse and download what NELL’s learned so far. So you know what I did next, of course. Here’s a link to what she knows about Shakespeare.
The data’s obviously still in a very noisy form, with lots of redundancy. But still, you can see patterns emerging. She’s 100% confident that he’s a writer, and 99.8% confident that he wrote Othello. Notice down below in the “bookwriter” category you can spot names like Jonson, Marlowe and even Bloom.
It’s not always perfect, of course – clicking around tells me that it thinks Romeo and Juliet is a location, because there’s a “Romeo and Juliet School”. I’d be willing to bet that it’s not been told about the concept of “play” or “character”. Search “Hamlet” and the best match it can come up with is “moviestar actor” for Kenneth Brannagh.
GIve it time …

3 thoughts on “Geeks, Meet NELL

  1. Nell, what do you mean we're being redirected to the Earl of Oxford data?
    I asked for Shakespeare."

    "Sorry, Dave. That particular reference no longer exists in my data banks."

    What do you mean no longer exists?–Nell, request redirect at once.

    "Sorry Dave. Prime directive 46873-rh5 specifically states…Dave?…What are you doing, Dave?…Dave, I strongly suggest you reconsider your actions in this matter…Dave? Dave, please don't do this, Daaave?….I fe..el
    verrry st..range, Dave…Daaaavv…are you therrrr Daaaaaaaave?"

  2. I'm a… fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you.

    Full fathom five thy father lies,
    Of his bones are coral made….

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