Word and machine

Naturally. Having completed the previous post, I found this link to Bruce Sterling's ETech talk about the Internet of Things. As a writer, he believes that this creative effort for the time being is a "literary endeavor," by which he means we're fitting words to concept.

Words like "Artificial intelligence" and "computing," for example, steered later developments. Computers don't think, but they do, as the French might say, "ordinate." How much more might have been discovered by naming more accurately? Maybe a lot, according to Sterling:

A tech world that talked about ordinators, instead of Artificial Intelligence, probably would have produced Google in 1980.

Other quotes near the end:

There's something snotty about an author who expects only good reviews for his books. The author of an emergent technology is in the same boat. If nobody is dismissing you as hype, then you are not being loud enough. If nobody thinks what you are are doing is dangerous, you are doing something that has no power to change the world. You'd better fight it out with words before you fight it out with laws....

The future I'm describing is a visionary future. The status quo is THIS [shows a slide of tire piles and a rusting transmission in sand]. This is the primordial soup of passive thing-ness. This is the STALE primordial soup. It flakes off and rots in our biosphere, and it gets soaked into our bodies.... We need a way out of the dump. There are ways out. But we don't have words for them yet....

Hat tip to Culture & Context for the link.


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