Making vagueness into an exact science

Published: 02/02/2010

POLITICAL speeches containing words with no real meaning could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to research carried out by an Aberdeen University academic.

Computer scientist Kees van Deemter has been examining vague phrases commonly used, and is developing a computer system that can decipher their meaning.

He said: “Vagueness is inherent in how we communicate in our day-to-day lives. Advertisers use words such as ‘powerful’ to describe a car engine or vacuum cleaner even though it would be difficult to test their claims, because a word like this is essentially undefined.

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