[ExI] Linguistic shifts

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Tue Dec 21 11:31:58 UTC 2010

An interesting take on language evolution came up during our roleplaying 
game session yesterday. Set in the post-singularity universe of Eclipse 
Phase, a young transhuman kid was talking to the crusty spaceship 
old-timer (born sometime around 2010!) Their personal AIs were 
struggling to translate the slang either used, since the same word had 
changed meaning so many times between them ("I think your owner is 
thinking of 'munchkin' in the game-meaning, not the software, economic, 
documentary or biotech sense... unless he is talking about asteroids, of 

Automated translation will always suffer from the dynamics of real 
languages. Not to mention the effects of automatic translation - we 
adapt our languages to the technology, so if translation is easy people 
will talk in such a way that their talk can be translated well enough, 
not in the "right" way.

Och of course vi speak flytande Swenglish here i Sweden these dagar.

Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford University

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