I kept my initial comment technical, without delving into the philosophical aspects of it, but now I can ramble a bit.
I suspect that general symbol recognition and interpretation is AI-complete, because of these issues of context, world knowledge, and quasi-unsupervised online learning.
I believe there is a generalized learning algorithm (or set of algorithms) that use (at minimum) frequencies and in-built biological heuristics that we use to approach the world. In this view, natural language generation and understanding is one manifestation of this more ge... (read more)
Arguably, OCR is about taking a small patch of an image and matching that to a finite set of candidate possible ground truths. OCR programs can do this sometimes better than most humans, if the only thing you look at is one distorted character.
OCR has traditionally been a difficult problem and there are some novel applications of statistics and heuristics used to solve it. But OCR is not what we actually care about: the problem is recognizing a document, or symbolically representing a sentence, and OCR is just one small problem we've carved out to help us ... (read more)
Hi. I came for the quantum mechanics thread, and stayed for the love of Bayes.