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[D] History of NLP: During the Enlightenment, Leibniz dreamed of a machine that could calculate ideas

This offbeat essay argues that the roots of NLP go way back. In the 17th century, Gottfried Leibniz imagined a “great instrument of reason” that wouldn’t just generate text, it would generate entire ideas.

“Leibniz … embarked on a project to create his own method of idea generation through symbolic combination. He wanted to use his machine not for theological debate, but for philosophical reasoning. He proposed that such a system would require three things: an ‘alphabet of human thoughts’; a list of logical rules for their valid combination and re-combination; and a mechanism that could carry out the logical operations on the symbols quickly and accurately…”

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