Comic 4 - The Obverter

27th Mar 2014, 1:10 AM
The Obverter
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes)
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Author Notes:

remivt 27th Mar 2014, 1:10 AM edit delete
Computational models on the emergence of language have demonstrated that speakers can only evolve a shared language system if they use what Luc Steels calls "re-entrance", which is a technical term for the speaker's ability to parse his own utterance, and vice versa, a listener's ability to produce an utterance based on what he has already parsed so far ("how would I say this?"). Other researchers (e.g. Oliphant and Batali; also see the work of Andrew DM Smith) have called this "The Obverter" strategy, which (probably because of my limited English) always makes me think of The Terminator. So the "hasta la vista ambiguity" is a reference to the famous movie quote, with "baby" replaced by "ambiguity" because the obverter/re-entrance strategy eliminates a lot of ambiguity.

- Steels, Luc (2003). Language re-entrance and the inner voice. Journal of consciousness studies 10(4-5).
- Oliphant, M. and Batali, J. (1997). Leaning and the emergence of joint communication.



Simon Kirby 11th May 2014, 5:01 PM edit delete reply
Love the comic, Remi!

Little known fact: Mike and John called their strategy "obverter" because the first two letters were the initials of their surnames, Oliphant and Batali.

remivt 22nd May 2014, 2:04 PM edit delete reply
Thanks Simon! Andrew in fact told me in Vienna a couple of weeks ago. I'm relieved to see that I could not have guessed the word's origins :).