Roughly six weeks ago, I went to see The Imitation Game – I caught one of the last English-language screenings in my city. Opinions might vary about this movie, but Alan Turing’s attitude, as shown in the film, reflected the mindset of a true programmer. True programmers, when they face a specific problem, tend to go one abstraction level up, and create a solution not just for the problem at hand, but for an entire class of similar problems. In fact, this is the very attitude that gave us language technology.
This blog is about language and technology. Not language technology, although at first I plan to explore what people dreamed up and crafted through history to bring down language barriers. Hence the title ‘Dreamers and doers’ – I see development as a whirlwind where dreams and actions endlessly spin around each other. Later, we might also look at how language influenced the development of technology (or if we can talk about development at all), but first, let’s just think of this:
Language has immense power: to name things. Once you can name things, you can talk to others about it, and then several people together might even create them. Just think: humans, through language, can name things that don’t exist in the physical world – and the moment you name one such thing it is brought into existence. Maybe not in a tangible form, but it will exist.