Tag Archives: Artificial Intelligence

Chapter 6, Preview of Covid-1984, The Musical

Syme is my favorite character in Orwell’s novel. Remember him? No? He’s the nerdy linguist who is overly enthusiastic about his work reducing the English language to Newspeak. Syme is not a hero. He is one the villains in 1984. But he is a fascinating character in the way he has bought into the lies and helps bring about his own end.

Orwell understood that a natural language is an instrument of thought. If your instrument has plenty of flexibility, ambiguity, and redundancy it can be used creatively. Technologists hate that about language; they try to deny that language is wild and alive and cannot be tamed or reproduced mechanistically.

In this chapter, after bringing Julia and Winston a little closer together, I introduce my version of Syme, who, of course, works in AI translation, today’s equivalent of the Newspeak project.

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