Minds and Machines 23 (4):489-502 (2013)

Philip J. Nickel
Eindhoven University of Technology
Some of the systems used in natural language generation (NLG), a branch of applied computational linguistics, have the capacity to create or assemble somewhat original messages adapted to new contexts. In this paper, taking Bernard Williams’ account of assertion by machines as a starting point, I argue that NLG systems meet the criteria for being speech actants to a substantial degree. They are capable of authoring original messages, and can even simulate illocutionary force and speaker meaning. Background intelligence embedded in their datasets enhances these speech capacities. Although there is an open question about who is ultimately responsible for their speech, if anybody, we can settle this question by using the notion of proxy speech, in which responsibility for artificial speech acts is assigned legally or conventionally to an entity separate from the speech actant
Keywords Artificial speech  Speech acts  Machine intelligence  Natural language generation  Philosophy of computational linguistics
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DOI 10.1007/s11023-013-9303-9
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References found in this work BETA

Studies in the Way of Words.H. P. Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Consciousness Explained.Daniel C. Dennett - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (4):905-910.

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Citations of this work BETA

Trust in Engineering.Philip J. Nickel - 2021 - In Diane Michelfelder & Neelke Doorn (eds.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Engineering. Routledge. pp. 494-505.
What Might Machines Mean?Mitchell Green & Jan G. Michel - forthcoming - Minds and Machines:1-16.

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