3 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2022
    1. Also, we shouldn’t underestimate the advantages of writing. In oralpresentations, we easily get away with unfounded claims. We candistract from argumentative gaps with confident gestures or drop acasual “you know what I mean” irrespective of whether we knowwhat we meant. In writing, these manoeuvres are a little too obvious.It is easy to check a statement like: “But that is what I said!” Themost important advantage of writing is that it helps us to confrontourselves when we do not understand something as well as wewould like to believe.

      In modern literate contexts, it is easier to establish doubletalk in oral contexts than it is in written contexts as the written is more easily reviewed for clarity and concreteness. Verbal ticks like "you know what I mean", "it's easy to see/show", and other versions of similar hand-waving arguments that indicate gaps in thinking and arguments are far easier to identify in writing than they are in speech where social pressure may cause the audience to agree without actually following the thread of the argument. Writing certainly allows for timeshiting, but it explicitly also expands time frames for grasping and understanding a full argument in a way not commonly seen in oral settings.

      Note that this may not be the case in primarily oral cultures which may take specific steps to mitigate these patterns.

      Link this to the anthropology example from Scott M. Lacy of the (Malian?) tribe that made group decisions by repeating a statement from the lowest to the highest and back again to ensure understanding and agreement.


      This difference in communication between oral and literate is one which leaders can take advantage of in leading their followers astray. An example is Donald Trump who actively eschewed written communication or even reading in general in favor of oral and highly emotional speech. This generally freed him from the need to make coherent and useful arguments.

    2. We also know that theaverage length of TV soundbites has steadily declined over the lastseveral decades (Fehrmann, 2011). During the U.S. presidentialelection in 1968, the average soundbite — that is, any footage of acandidate speaking uninterrupted — was still a little more than 40seconds, but that had fallen to less than 10 seconds at the end of the80s (Hallin 1994) and 7.8 seconds in 2000 (Lichter, 2001). The lastelection has certainly not reversed the trend. Whether that meansthat the media adjust to our decreasing attention span or is causingthe trend is not easy to say.[17]

      Ryfe and Kemmelmeier not only show that this development goes much further back into the past and first appeared in newspapers (the quotes of politicians got almost halved between 1892 and 1968), but also posed the question if this can maybe also be seen as a form of increased professionalism of the media as they do not just let politicians talk as they wish (Ryfe and Kemmelmeier 2011). Craig Fehrman also pointed out the irony in the reception of this rather nuanced study – it was itself reduced to a soundbite in the media (Fehrman 2011).


      Soundbites have decreased in length over time.

      What effects are driving this? What are the knock on effects? What effect does this have on the ability for doubletalk to take hold? Is it easier for doubletalk and additional meanings to attach to soundbites when they're shorter? (It would seem so.) At what point to they hit a minimum?

      What is the effect of potential memes which hold additional meaning of driving this soundbite culture?

      Example: "Lock her up" as a soundbite with memetic meaning from the Trump 2016 campaign in reference to Hilary Clinton.

  2. Nov 2019
    1. From this perspective, GPT-2 says less about artificial intelligence and more about how human intelligence is constantly looking for, and accepting of, stereotypical narrative genres, and how our mind always wants to make sense of any text it encounters, no matter how odd. Reflecting on that process can be the source of helpful self-awareness—about our past and present views and inclinations—and also, some significant enjoyment as our minds spin stories well beyond the thrown-together words on a page or screen.

      And it's not just happening with text, but it also happens with speech as I've written before: Complexity isn’t a Vice: 10 Word Answers and Doubletalk in Election 2016 In fact, in this mentioned case, looking at transcripts actually helps to reveal that the emperor had no clothes because there's so much missing from the speech that the text doesn't have enough space to fill in the gaps the way the live speech did.