Higher Education on a Flatter Earth

We’re collaborating on some educational work and came across this sentence in a textbook on finance and accounting:

  • All of these are potentially good economic decisions.

We use statistical NLP but assist with the ambiguities.  In doing this, we relate questions and answers and explanations to the text.

We also extract the terminology and produce a rich lexicalized ontology of the subject matter for pedagogical uses, assessment, and adaptive learning.

Here’s one that just struck me as interesting.  This is a case where the choice looks like it won’t matter much either way, but …

The logic that results from the different parses in even such a simple case can be significantly different, however.

The difference here is whether the point is that they are potentially decisions versus potentially good!

Even when you do the right thing and clarify for the machine that the semantics of potential is with regard to good, there are different logical implications.

In this case, the right logic comes from another interpretation with the same syntactic structure as parse #1 above:

The outer universal is a little tricky.  It has to be interpreted within a scope, as is typical for demonstrative pronouns, such as “these”.  In effect, this is provided by a quantifier in the formula for the prior sentence.

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