Re: Visual Languages

Twirlip of Greymist (
Tue, 12 Nov 1996 11:10:11 -0800 (PST)

On Nov 11, 1:07pm, Chris Hind wrote:

} A pictures' worth a thousand words. Hmm good analogy.

Only the thousand words used to describe the picture[1]. We moved away
from hieroglyphics to arbitrary ideograms and letter-cominations/words.
I suspect general intelligent abstract communication centers on
intelligences agreeing on arbitrary symbols for common ideas, somehow
inducting that the ideas are in fact common. The main benefit of
complex visual symbols versus spoken and written words would be if our
brains were better at processing one species than the other. Given how
we evolved, I doubt this is the case.

[1] From Pratchett[2], I think.

[2]Is _Strata_ transhuman literature?

Truly flexible Powers might use whatever symbols they felt like. The
key change being not in the tools they can use to produce symbols but in
the mental ability to perceive symbols of various types -- such as many
people being more comfortable with letters rather than numbers, even
when they are being used as arbitrary symbols in logic games
[Hofstadter], or my suspicion that I'm worse at computer chess because
the graphics don't trigger my chess perceptive networks.

twisty wrote:
}I've long believed that the greatest indicator of intelligence is in its
}increasing layers of discernment.

Which is why studying etymology is neat, and the history of one's
language. E.g: the proposal that English spelling be reformed so that
each phoneme has one spelling would lose information: words with 'ph'
for the 'f'-sound tend to be Greek.

All hail the Scots/English/evolutionary Enlightenment.

(now, if there's a disadvantage to each spelling mapping to one phoneme,
I haven't thought of it.)