I began my academic career studying Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing. I was part of a team at the AI Dupont Institute’s Applied Science and Engineering Lab that developed systems that “appeared” intelligent because they exploited powerful search methods to solve complex problems.  Our goal was to help motor-disabled individuals communicate via abbreviations and icons, and rely on the built-in smarts of a natural language processing system to decode their abbreviated messages.  The technology was both conceptually brilliant and simple, and in fact, variations on the early algorithms we devised for word prediction are implemented today in the auto-correct and predictive text features of your texting device.