Technology Quarterly on language: Brain scan: Terry Winograd
The Winograd Schema tests computers' “understanding” of the real world.
The Turing Test was conceived as a way to judge whether true artificial intelligence has been achieved.
If a computer can fool humans into thinking it is human, there is no reason, say its fans, to say the machine is not truly intelligent.
Few giants in computing stand with Turing in fame, but one has given his name to a similar challenge: Terry Winograd, a computer scientist at Stanford.
In his doctoral dissertation Mr Winograd posed a riddle for computers: “The city councilmen refused the demonstrators a permit because they feared violence.
It is a perfectillustrationof a well-recognised point: many things that are easy for humans are crushingly difficult for computers.
Mr Winograd went into AI research in the 1960s and 1970s and developed an early natural-language program called SHRDLU
that could take commands and answer questions about a group of shapes it could manipulate:
“Find a block which is taller than the one you are holding and put it into the box.”
This work brought ajolt of optimism to the AI crowd, but MrWinograd later fell out with them,
devoting himself not to making machines intelligent but to making them better at helping human beings.
(These camps are sharply divided by philosophyand academic pride.)
He taught Larry Page at Stanford, and after Mr Page went on to co-found Google, MrWinograd became a guest researcher at the company, helping to build Gmail.