Issue 36 Jun 25, 2023

AI will change the way languages work


I've been going on about the problems with AI pretty aggressively at times. That's no surprise, no one can claim to know how this new form of data interaction will change society, and the way we work. People are already losing their jobs due to AI, while others are adapting. Add to that the fact that most models are trained on stolen data, something that's ending up in court.

It's not all bad, though. One area where what we call AI will be positive is communication. I'm not talking about chatbots, but rather how we understand each other. There are 7,151 languages in the world according to this piece, and I for one can't understand them all. My native language is Swedish, I write and speak English, and understand basic German. While I would like to learn more languages, French comes to mind, I won't achieve the skill I have in neither Swedish nor English. There's not enough time, and I don't live in a country where the language is spoken. It's not reasonable to believe that I'll get proficient beyond the basics. An in-depth conversation with someone in French is out of the question. Indeed, even when I do speak French, at restaurants and the like, the waiter will switch to English. It's just easier for everyone involved.

But what if there was an AI that translated for you, in real-time? That's not far off. It already exists for subtitling, and as computers get smaller and faster, it won't be long before you can have your personal translator in your headphones. Suddenly, that conversation about wine with the French sommelier becomes feasible, assuming both of us has access to this technology. And it can be, thanks to the ubiquitousness of smartphones.

This isn't AI, obviously, but it is technology made possible by the language models attached to AI. You can ask ChatGPT to translate for you, so the step isn't that far off.

Understanding each other makes the world a better place. Here, AI can be hugely beneficial to society. It isn't all bad, as it were.


๐ŸŽฌ Say what you will about the Marvel movies, but they're doing some serious storytelling, if you're into the superhero thing. Oh, and they're swallowing Hollywood, too.

๐Ÿ“ท Gear Patrol saves DPReview.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Discord will let creators sell downloadable products. I'm surprised it took them this long, seeing as creators have been creating communities on there. This might dig into Gumroad, and possibly Substack too.

๐Ÿ“ญ Speaking of Substack, my good friend Salomรฉ has a free newsletter there. Here's her latest one.

๐Ÿ“Ÿ Julia Evans's post on blogging myths has been making the rounds. It's a worthy reminder.

๐Ÿ“ Is my writing a hobby or a career? That's a question a lot of people ask themselves, I'd wager.

Got something I should read? Send it to me, either by replying to this letter, or tweeting to @tdh. Thanks!


๐Ÿ“š I've been wanting to read Serotonin by French author Michel Houellebecq for quite some time, and finally got around to it. I read it in Swedish as my French isn't good enough, and I found it to be an interesting novel. Not for everyone, Houellebecq is problematic, but I do see what all the fuzz is about.

๐ŸŽต Regular readers will know that I'm an Alice Cooper fan, and has been since I found Killer among my father's vinyl collection. His new album, Road, isn't out for some time, but I've been enjoying the first single, "I'm Alice", a lot. It's a promising start for the album.

๐Ÿ“บ Just started watching The Bodyguard on Netflix. It seems like a good show for summer evenings.

๐ŸŽฎ Midsummer isn't about games, and other than the occasional round of Slay the Spire, I haven't played anything. The weather, and the overgrown garden, has kept me outdoors.

Midsummer is a big thing in Sweden, probably our most cherished holiday. We spent it in our country home, which sounds a lot more fancy than it is. The lawn was overgrown due to us not being here for a couple of weeks, so in-between celebrations and taking it easy, I've been wrestling with it. It almost looks well-tended now. Alas, we're leaving in the morning for a hectic week in Stockholm, here's hoping the weather will be dry so that I won't have to do it all over again when we get back. Anyway, here's a photo of me with my skull besk to get you through the rest of the day.

Until next Sunday, take it easy.

โ€” Thord D. Hedengren โšก

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