Scientific Sense Podcast

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Returning language to the wild

Recent research from the University of Warwick shows that most remember Facebook and Twitter updates better than faces and polished writing. This confirms that modern technology has been able to simplify the human mind and return it to its origins. As she stood up in the African savannahs for the first time, it was clear that simpler communication was not too far behind. The origin of language, albeit being hotly debated, had only one purpose – organizing to achieve common objectives. From its inception, language was simple, as the faster one can communicate the limited set of available information, the better.

Later, modern humans, took the simple construct of language and used it as an art form to kill time and nourish the inner mind. Literature and philosophy moved language into realms it was never meant to be used. Both created complexity and stretched the concept in pleasurable ways, but still only for a limited subset of the population. Much later, computers ushered in the first step back in language evolution as machines, being efficient and systematic, were not that fond of ornamentation. Computer languages provided the first glimpse of the original language, able to pack in maximum information into simple constructs. Now, Facebook and Twitter complete the full circle, returning language to its origins. After all, a constraint on characters was exactly what the original languages were facing. They had to communicate limited information efficiently.

For some, however, this is a sad story as it is ample evidence that the human psyche will degenerate to its origins at the first available opportunity, provided by technology or society.

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