April 20, 2004

Boring blogs

In a side discussion among Language Log contributors (don't worry, you're not missing all that much!), Geoff Nunberg mentioned a site with deliberately boring blogs. For example, the entry for April 12:
I was sitting down on one of the chairs in my house. 
My hand  was resting on the arm of the chair. 
I started to drum my fingers   on the arm, thereby 
making a barely audible sound.

Boring, yes, but perhaps some very good test material for language understanding systems or trigger language models. For example, understanding the Feb 22 entry,

I was in a room carrying out some routine activities. I
began to consider playing some music on the stereo system. I
looked at some compact discs for a while, but didn't put
one on.
requires an inference involving the relationship between compact disks and music, the difference between considering an action and doing it, etc. To the extent that "boring" can be equated with "predictable" (or "low entropy"), this is a nice illustration that what's boring to us may be very different from what's "boring" to our systems.

Posted by Philip Resnik at April 20, 2004 09:32 AM