Whenever a scholar employs a computer to reason with you about the structure of language or the structure of literature; whenever you have an encounter with rules that seem to work for the general case, but not for the specific one; whenever a linguist tells you that his model will help
a computer understand the meaning of language, remember that there can be more than one species of computation.All of the computers that we are familiar with today
are based on the Von-Neumann architecture
, an architecture that by its very success has stifled the development of alternative models of computation. It became influential after World War II, and has only grown more ubiquitous over the years since. The alternatives remain relatively unexplored: using hardware based on Neural Networks
, Genetic Algorithms, Quantum Computing, and massively parallel systems would all provide machines that behave in a markedly different manner than the computers of today.
Theoretical models that try to make human culture intelligible for machines to understand, Computational Linguistics and the like, are almost always designing for the Von-Neumann machines. Don't trust a theory that accepts the narrow
, rational Von-Neumann architecture as the foundation for all formal systems.