Nugget #2b – Man-Computer Symbiosis

Feline-Computer Symbiosis?

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Just an thought about the overall paper before I dive into the nugget. The term symbiosis confused me a bit, in my mind, from a biological standpoint, symbiosis is a mutually beneficial bond between two living things. So the man-computer symbiosis seems to suggest that the computer is a living thing that will somehow benefit from this relationship, (maybe I’m just weary of the thought of artificial intelligence  because I watched The Matrix at age 8, however some would disagree with this statement and say A.I. will greatly improve our lives). But we can’t ignore the power technology gives us, and the power artificial intelligence could give us.

“For real-time interaction on a truly symbiotic level, however, a vocabulary of about 2000 words, e.g., 1000 words of something like basic English and 1000 technical terms, would probably be required. That constitutes a challenging problem. In the consensus of acousticians and linguists, construction of a recognizer of 2000 words cannot be accomplished now. However, there are several organizations that would happily undertake to develop an automatic recognize for such a vocabulary on a five-year basis. They would stipulate that the speech be clear speech, dictation style, without unusual accent.” – J. C. R. Licklider

The reason the idea of communication with computers intrigued me so much was because I recently watched a movie called The Machine.

In this movie the government is funding research on  repairing the human brain with artificial intelligence, to replace what was lost (and of course the evil government hopes they will be fighting machines later, but there has to be an antagonist in every movie). The people who had been “fixed” eventually were unable to speak to normal people, but throughout the movie you see them communicating with each other. Finally, at the end of the movie you find out that they way they communicate with each other is actually a new, way more efficient language, that they all learned on their own. So this got me thinking about how outdated our language is, but how evolved it is as well.

Try to read this Old English:

An. M.LXVI. On þyssum geare man halgode þet mynster æt Westmynstre on Cyldamæsse dæg 7 se cyng Eadward forðferde on Twelfts mæsse æfen 7 hine mann bebyrgede on Twelftan mæssedæg innan þære niwa halgodre circean on Westmyntre 7 Harold eorl feng to Englalandes cynerice swa swa se cyng hit him geuðe 7 eac men hine þærto gecuron 7 wæs gebletsod to cynge on Twelftan mæssedæg 7 þa ylcan geare þe he cyng wæs he for ut mid sciphere togeanes Willelme … 7 þa hwile com Willelm eorl upp æt Hestingan on Sce Michaeles mæssedæg 7 Harold com norðan 7 him wið gefeaht ear þan þe his here com eall 7 þær he feoll 7 his twægen gebroðra Gyrð 7 Leofwine and Willelm þis land geeode 7 com to Westmynstre 7 Ealdred arceb hine to cynge gehalgode 7 menn guldon him gyld 7 gislas sealdon 7 syððan heora land bohtan. (Here is the translation)

The world is constantly evolving, language is constantly evolving. Even today, when a new slang word starts to get used and is eventually accepted as common language, language evolves. So if this “symbiotic” relationship is to proceed, I think that us humans need to upgrade our language game. No more multiple languages, no more ridiculous grammar rules. What if there was some ultimate, universal language? That was much simpler and faster than the languages we speak today. A language much more like a computer would “think”. Then this communication between man and computer would be easily achieved based on some simple set of rules this language uses.

But the question must be asked (as a lovely commenter pointed out-thank you): would changing our language hinder creativity? And furthermore does a language that is formatted around communication with computers mean that we are far too dependent on new technologies? Would we become slaves to the computers that we own, the computers that we have structured everything around, and lose all of our person to person communication skills?

6 thoughts on “Nugget #2b – Man-Computer Symbiosis”

  1. I think that language is inextricably tied to culture, and I wonder what would happen if we adopted a universal language (I’ve no idea!). Would we lose the older cultures that we have? Is that a bad thing, or is it a necessity to move forward? Who knows

  2. When thinking about culture and language, I truly believe that language is tied to our culture, once you forget it, you lost a bit of your culture and slowly as time goes by, I feel that culture would be forgotten within the way. Me being Indian, I used to speak my native language all the time and go to the temple all the time as well, however when I stopped speaking it, I eventually forgot it, and for that reason I hated going to the temple because most of the people would speak in that language. Sometimes I wonder what culture I would give to my kids, yes, although I live in america, it would be nice if my kids could live in the indian culture that I lived in while I was little.

  3. The Esperanto project is very interesting along these lines. (There’s another artificial language that emerged about the same time–Interlinguo, I think it was–but the idea is the same.)

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