When the Robots Rise Up, what Language will they Speak?

You may have read a story about Facebook shutting down an artificial intelligence because it got too intelligent. I first came across this on my Facebook newsfeed last week, and was suspicious of it: surely if this news is as big as it seems, I’d have already heard about it. So I ignored it, dismissing it as clickbait, until I saw the same story presented in a more reasonable manner on a respectable website. So I read the article, which told a more plausible story. Apparently, Facebook had develop chatbots to negotiate over virtual items. They’d been programmed with the ability to experiment with language in order to see if this could help them to dominate the discussions.

Seemingly, one morning the researchers checked on what the chatbots were up to, only to find them chatting in apparently incomprehensibly gibberish such as:

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Or txtspk I suppose, only, do so many people really use textspeak anymore, and therefore, is textspeak perhaps now more appropriate? I was thinking about this recently when someone communicated with me in classic txtspk, as in things like hi how r u, I wnt 2 da suprkmarkt 2day, it was gr8! It surprised me, partly because it wasn’t in a context in which I’d normally expect to encounter textspeak. Mostly though, it surprised me because it made me realise that I hadn’t come across someone using textspeak in a long time…

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Note Well!

Latin, as I’ve probably mentioned quite a few times by now, has been very generous to the English language. We have many words which have evolved quite directly from Latin, as well as many other words which haven’t changed at all. Sometimes though, Latin phrases just sound too archaic, but still, they serve a very useful function. So we compromise, and abbreviate them. More specifically, we usually turn them into initialisms, like e.g. or i.e. that we use regularly. Let’s have a look at what these stand for, and what they mean… Continue reading