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matt

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on the fucking well ubiquitous mistranslation of "干" [Sep. 7th, 2008|01:20 pm]
matt
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http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003205.html
http://bokane.org/2007/10/29/fucking-stationery/
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/005195.html

googling around about the confluence of the word "fuck" and the chinese character gan, 干, "to do", makes me less afraid of the singularity, because it's not about direct interpretation and logic as the be-all and end-all of existence, but about purposeful misdirection. That's evolutive.

Also: flipping channels yesterday, there was a special on the "microsoft house" where the narrator was using a projected screen to template-out some foccacia according to her so-called "family" recipe. The first thing that came to mind about a rustic bread recipe is first, how fucking dependent do you have to be on technology to not remember how to make rustic bread past the first or second time you do so? Would you rely on a computer to do your thinking for you, to only prepare exactly what you have in a fixed database? I appreciate that some people are picky eaters and would happily eat canned chili every day of their lives, but really, come on.

Secondly, I was thinking about the dish I cooked yesterday- some kind of an improvised "red-snapper-in-ginger-and-orange-glaze-with-field mushrooms"- I understand it's a difficult thing to go from a prescribed "use the recipe exactly", "play the song exactly", etc., to actually being creative and novel. But, I'm with Bob Ross on this one- the point is to have lots of happy accidents. I had no idea what I was cooking would actually be good, and while I was less than impressed with the results, my "Iron Chef Tattooine" skills seemed to go over well with lapis_lazuli. I've done marmalade glazes before, and ginger sauces before, and fish dishes before, but never thought to cross-pollinate them.

In the future envisioned by Kurzweil, machine translation would probably be unnecessary because all translation would likely be accurate, because the processing power would be sufficient to find the optimal solution. This is a 'Deep Blue' kind of outcome: where, if you have a computer that's so good that it can always beat a human, do you still care at that point about machine chess? In the singularity, there is only one language needed. But as quickly as a machine can be adapted to only find the right translation every time, we also adapt and find new meanings in old words. That's the point of human endeavor- to constantly be doing it the wrong way, perverting and mismatching until the time and place are just right.

Think, too, about that simple verb "do". Think about how many different ways such a simple, seemingly unambiguous word has been twisted in pop culture over the past twenty years or so. What, for example, does "Just do it!" mean?

There is constant motion under your feet, no ground is bedrock forever. The beauty lies in the fact that as soon as you think you have it defined to the last decimal place, someone comes along to change the meaning of the first digit.

and, because I haven't posted in a while, quod erat demonstrandum:



also, via urlgirl: revealingerrors
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