Mind, Machines and Language

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Mind, Machines and Language (UG, Spring 2019)

This course is aimed at examining the core issues relating to minds and machines, with a specific focus on language. Broadly situated within the field of cognitive science, the course will provide a background of the connections between the fields of computer science, linguistics and psychology. By focusing on experimental evidence and cognitive modeling of language phenomena, the course will examine some key debates such as the learning mechanisms for language and whether machines can be considered minds. Some newer developments and real life applications from a cognitive science perspective will also be considered.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course, students are expected to identify early contributions from the field of linguistics, computer science and psychology to the development of cognitive science. They should be able to interpret the difference between classicism and connectionism, which represents one of the key debates in the field. Further, they should be able to locate the cognitive underpinnings of some well understood natural language processing tasks. Through the class presentations, they will work with others to examine particular papers on these topics and synthesise some of these concepts.