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Introduction to Social Solipsism (off topic?)
Language as Skill
  Printable version
Using language is part of being human, and humans are natural experts with language. We learn culturally defined languages like English, French, or Chinese, disciplinary languages like those used by computer programmers or mathematicians, and non-verbal languages like flirting or dancing, each used in a huge variety of situations.

Not only do we soak up the vocabulary and grammar of a language, but we also learn what's appropriate, and when. A classics scholar does not speak ancient Greek at the supermarket, a programmer doesn't speak computer language to her 2-year-old daughter, and we flirt less at funerals than we do at parties.
 
Nearly all ongoing attempts to give computers the ability to converse are based on the notion that language is based on knowing a set of rules, whether rules about language, following the Chomskyan School of theoretical linguistics as implemented by Natural Language Processing researchers, or rules about the world like the approach taken by the ambitious CYC project. Despite substantial investment in time and resources, these approaches did not manage to generate humalike conversation in computers, as envisaged by Turing.
 
In contrast, we believe that language has nothing to do with any type of knowledge base or rules. We maintain that using language is an acquired skill, not different than riding bicycles, playing the piano or dancing the tango. Following principles of behaviorism, we train a computer to acquire language without any hardwired knowledge or pre-scripted assumptions about the rules of language or the world. What is Behaviorism  Related Article
 
We humans learn language as we learn anything - we observe, respond to feedback, experiment. If you say to a 4-year-old child "what class of actions do you wish to regularly perform upon entering legal adulthood?" the child will probably look at you in confusion, and you'll then say instead, "what do you want to do when you grow up?"