The Atlantic

How Computers Parse the Ambiguity of Everyday Language

Words with multiple meanings pose a special challenge to algorithms.
Source: Mike Lawrie / Getty

If you’re one of the 2.4 million Twitter followers of the Hamilton impresario Lin-Manuel Miranda, you’ve come to expect a delightful stream of observations, including tweets capturing conversations with his son Sebastian, now 3 years old. Earlier this month, Miranda offered one such exchange under the title, “S’MORES. A Real-Life One-Act Play.”

Me: So that’s the marshmallow but you’re going to eat it with this graham cracker and chocolate.

[My son looks at me like I am the dumbest person alive.]

Sebastian: No, I’m going to eat it with my MOUTH.

[End of play.]

A charming slice of life, to be sure. But in that brief interaction, young Sebastian Miranda also

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