Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is based in the view that the only way to prove you know
the mind\'s causal properties is to build it. In its purest form, AI research
seeks to create an automaton possessing human intellectual capabilities and
eventually, consciousness. There is no current theory of human consciousness
which is widely accepted, yet AI pioneers like Hans Moravec enthusiastically
postulate that in the next century, machines will either surpass human
intelligence, or human beings will become machines themselves (through a process
of scanning the brain into a computer). Those such as Moravec, who see the
eventual result as "the universe extending to a single thinking
entity" as the post-biological human race expands to the stars, base their
views in the idea that the key to human consciousness is contained entirely in
the physical entity of the brain. While Moravec (who is head of Robotics at

Carnegie Mellon University) often sounds like a New Age psychedelic guru
professing the next stage of evolution, most AI (that which will concern this
paper) is expressed by Roger Schank, in that "the question is not \'can
machines think?\' but rather, can people think well enough about how people think
to be able to explain that process to machines?" This paper will explore
the relation of linguistics, specifically the views of Noam Chomsky, to the
study of Artificial Intelligence. It will begin by showing the general
implications of Chomsky\'s linguistic breakthrough as they relate to machine
understanding of natural language. Secondly, we will see that the theory of
syntax based on Chomsky\'s own minimalist program, which takes semantics as a
form of syntax, has potential implications on the field of AI. Therefore, the
goal is to show the interconnectedness of language with any attempt to model the
mind, and in the process explain Chomsky\'s influence on the beginnings of the
field, and lastly his potential influence on current or future research. Chomsky
essentially founded modern linguistics in seeking out a systematic, testable
theory of natural language. He hypothesized the existence of a "language
organ" within the brain, wired with a "deep structured" universal
grammar that is transmitted genetically and underlies the superficial structures
of all human languages. Chomsky asserted that underlying meaning was carried in
the universal grammar of deep structures and transformed by a series of
operations that he termed "transformational rules" into the less
abstract "surface structures" that was the spoken form of the various
natural languages. He showed also that mental activities in general can and
should be investigated independently of behavior and cognitive underpinnings.

This "idealization" of the linguistic capability of a native speaker
brought Chomsky to his nativist, internalist, and constructivist philosophical
views of language and mind. This concept of generative grammar could be seen as
"a \'machine\', in the abstract Turing sense, that can be used to generate
all the grammatical sentences in a given language." Chomsky was searching
for a formal method of describing the possible grammatical sentences of a
language, as the Turing machine (more below) was used to specify what was
possible in the language of mathematics. Chomsky\'s transformational generative
grammar (TGG) possessed the most influence on AI in that it was a specification
for a machine that went beyond the syntax of a language, to their semantics, or
the ways that meanings are generated. An ambiguous sentence like "I like
her cooking" or "flying planes can be dangerous" could have a
single surface structure from multiple deep structures, just as semantically
equivalent sentences involving a transformation from active to passive voice or
the like, could have different surface structures emerging from the same deep
structure. Computational linguists and AI researchers saw that these rules, once
understood, could be applied, or mechanized, with a formal mathematical system.

Here, "natural languages were strings of symbols constructed to different
conventions, which needed to be converted to a universal human \'machine
code.\'" From a computational viewpoint, language is an abstract system for
manipulating symbols; the universal grammar could be purified in the sense of
mathematics, in other words, being independent of physical reality. Semantics in
this view would just be an application of the abstract syntax onto the real
world. Chomskyan linguistics, as we shall see further on, does not acknowledge
any application of syntax outside the internal realm of mind, semantics being
one of the components of syntax. The primary difficulty in AI work, and that
which binds it so closely with philosophy, cognitive science, psychology, and
computational and natural linguistics, is that in order to build a mind, we must
understand that which we are building. While we understand the external
functions which are carried out by the brain/mind (age old mind/body problem),