When Norvig and Chomsky's voices met at last year's MIT's Brains, Minds, and Machines symposium we had a chance to finally witness out in the open a debate that has been brewing for the last decade or so in the field.
Norvig, the head of research at Google, represents the modern CL, which emphasizes what Chomsky called "a method of doing linguistic analysis without involving language and the linguistic science" (my paraphrasis). Machine learning and statistical analyses of language are two well-known manifestations of such method.
The debate was inevitable.
Google is notorious for (successfully) doing natural language processing without special regard for natural language.
And Chomsky is notorious for (successfully) doing linguistics without special regard for real-life data.
So, who's right and who's wrong? Can truth be found on one side of the table? Is there a possibility of finding the truth in between the two extremes? And if so, what exactly is the truth about the "right way" of processing natural language?