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have set for ourselves. It must be realized that the quest to build a machine with human-like linguistic abilities is tantamount to simulating the human mind. This is, of course, an age-old philosophical quest, the rationality of which has been debated by thinkers of every generation. If the problem of simulating the mind is intractable, we shall develop a speech technology that is little more than a curiosity with some limited commercial value. If, however, the problem admits of a solution, as I believe it does, the resulting technology will be of historic proportions.

Frank Fallside did not live to see his research program carried out. That program might well turn out to be an important component in the accomplishment of the ultimate goal of speech research, to build a machine that is indistinguishable from a human in its ability to communicate in natural spoken language. Frank Fallside will never see such a machine. Sadly, the same is most likely true for this colloquium's participants. However, I believe the ultimate goal can be accomplished. I only hope that our intellectual descendants who finally solve the problem do not wonder why we were so conservative in our thinking, thus leaving the breakthrough to be made by a much later generation.


Fallside, F., "On the Acquisition of Speech by Machines, ASM," Proc. Eurospeech 91, Genoa, Italy, 1991.

Gorin, A. L., et. al., "Adaptive Acquisition of Language," Computer Speech and Language 5(2):101-132, 1991.

Levinson, S. E., "Implication of an Early Experiment in Speech Understanding," Proceedings of the Al Symposium, pp. 36-37, Stanford, Calif., 1989.

Sankar, A., and A. L. Gorin, "Visual Focus of Attention in Adaptive Language Acquisition," Neural Networks for Speech and Vision Applications, R. Mammone, Ed., Chapman and Hall, 1993.

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