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May 20, 1956 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1956-05-20
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Page Two


Sunday, May 20, 1956

Sunday, May 20, 1956



A step-by-step analysis of "the greatest American
moving picture ever made." Page 3.
FOREIGN POLICY-An Indian journalist makes some
observations about his country's behavior in the arena
of world politics and concludes that "whether India's
foreign policy is right or wrong. . . it has succeeded."
Page 4.
THE ART OF A PEOPLE-Indian art is not outside life,
it is an integral part of daily life, a reflection of In-
dian religion and philosophy. Page 5.
AMERICAN IN INDIA-Writer John Frederick Muehl
traveled across India on a fantastic 2,300-mile jour-
ney, covering everything from Communistic upris-
ings to jungles and swamps. Page 6.
view of former University creative writing student
Alfred Slote's new book, "Lazarus in Vienna." Page 9.
of a University fine arts professor who "lives the art."
Page 10.{
LANGUAGE TRANSLATION--Machines are turning out
remarkably efficient copy and lessening man's work
load in this latest of scientific discoveries. Page 11.
ANN ARBOR THEATRE-A plea for more diversified and
intellectual dramatic fare and a discussion of ensuing
problems of audiences and productions. Page 12.
SUPPLEMENT, EDITOR-Ernest Theodossin
PICTURE CREDITS-Page 5: courtesy of Fine Arts De-
partment; Page 6: photograph by John F. Muehl; Page 7; left
photograph courtesy of John F. Muehl, right photograph cour-
tesy of News Service; Page 8: courtesy of Fine Arts Depart-
ment; Page 9: courtesy of Kanter Studio; Page 10: Daily
photograph by Sam Ching.
w. N ' iC., . ...' ...Y.-. ' . "i: :;<t r iYt '~..S~' s"c'S Rt. . ; .
You'll get "buck fever"
when you see the smart new

Machines Can Do the Job With Marked Efficiency anc

Representative of BOLEX PILLARD_
will be in our store on
Tuesday, May 29
from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M.
for a General Movie Clinic ands
Demonstration of all Bolex Equipment
Seared for actio-

ONE OF THE unnecessary bar-
riers between men, that of
language difference, is becoming
increasingly troublesome. Esper-
anto, Basic English, and other
contrived languages have been sug-
gested as solutions, but men con-
tinue to express the bulk of their
beliefs and attitudes in their own
mutually unintelligible natural
In international political, scien-
tific, and commercial intercourse
there is a growing need for quick,
economical translation. The fail-
ure of artificial languages and the
increasing awareness of the great
complexity of language has for a
while made it seem unlikely that
any great "break-through" would
occur in solving the problems of
language difference.
BUT today, surprisingly enough,
the wall of language difference
is showing cracks and large gaps
are beginning to appear. A new ap-
proach seems possible. It involves
the use of a large highspeed com-
puting machines. These machines
were developed late in World War
II to solve problems requiring the
remembering and manipulation of
immense amounts of data-some-
thing similar to what goes on in
the mind of a human translator.
The improvement in computing
devices led Dr. Warren Weaver,
Mathematician, Director, the
Natural Sciences, The Rockefeller
Foundation) to write and distribute
his famous memo of July 15, 1949,
in which he asserted that machines
might readily be designed to trans-
late languages. The stimulus of
this memo has resulted in the
establishing of several research
groups attempting to solve the
problems of Mechanical1*Transla-
tion. One of these groups is at
Michigan at the Willow Run Lab-
oratories. The work is being con-
ducted by Andreas Koutsoudas un-
der the present sponsorship of
Project MIHIGAN, a Defense De-
partment contract.
Warren Weaver, In his memo,
made four suggestions on the feas-
ibility of mechanical translation
and on the mode of attack,
HIS FIRST suggestion was that
problems of multiple meaning
might be resolved on the basis of
what he called "micro-context"-
that is by examination of limited
areas adjacent to-the undetermin-
ed word.
Thus, in the expression "the dog
bites," the machine in consulting
its memory might come up with
several possible meanings for dog.
"A canine," "a piece of metal for
holding logs," or "to annoy by
following,"-but that the nachine
would eliminate "to annoybyfol-
lowing" because the indetermined
word "dog" is in a place normally
reserved for nouns, and would
eliminate the noun fire-iron as not
usually "biting." The machine
would then presumably select
"canine" as the best possibility,
Some use of micro-context in dis-
tinguishing among multiple mean-
ings has been dope at Willow Run.
W EAVER'S second suggestion
was in the form of a reminder
that bio-mathematicians had prov-
en in 1943 that a computer with
feedback loops is "capable of de-
ducting any legitimate conclusion
from a finite set of premises"
which is to say that modes of de-
cision open to explicit formulation
by man are ultimately also open
to the machine.
THE third suggestion by Weaver
was the application of some-
thing like the probability analyses
employed in cryptography, which
often depend on the "normal" per-
centages or arrangements of cer-
tain letters, words, or groups of
letters or words (in English- "e's"
are more frequent, "th" clusters are
frequent, "the" is seldom followed

by a verb, etc). 4
It was Weaver's suggestion that
investigation of statistical relations
'between lan'uages might prove

should be, in looking at a Chinese
text, to say, "This book is really
in English but it has been put into
the Chinese code. I will now pro-
ceed to decipher it."
WEAVER'S fourth suggestion was
that one should perhaps search
for some "common language based
on the logical structure of all
Weaver's suggestions were at
first met with dismay and
often derision. Even Norbert Wien-
er of the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, who might have
been expected to encourage such
an effort; was seemingly appalled
by the complexities involved and

doggedly refused to become en-
thusiastic. In a letter to Weaver
he asserted, "Mechanization of
language .. . seems very prema-
Some others seemed inspired by
a sort of irrational fear that a
machine capable of acting in ways
so essentially human would some-
how "degrade" the human to its
own machine level. These persons
obviously did not doubt that the
machine could translate, they were
merely afraid to let it. Illogically
their emotionalism on the subject
led them to deny the possibility of
such a machine.
But now almost all who were
once shocked by the seeming pre-


sumption of the assertions of com
mathematicians and c o m p u t e r to o
engineers have been soothed by this
the real modesty of the claims uist
made and the gradual nature of test
the progress. stru
Texts can be fed in automatic- tion
ally and printed out automatically. imn
The printed out text usually re- Se
quires the services of a "post-edit- gist
or" who "cleans up and makes ad- poil
justments." usua
Thbse persons who cried out that logi
everyman's favorite line of verse lang
would be butchered have been tioi
temporarily placated. viev
ALTHOUGH mechanical transla.- kno
tion begins in an attempt to kno

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