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Human Intelligence and Language

Another one of those awesome TED Talks by Steven Pinker. I use language without being conscious of all the nuances. This talk gives a better understanding of why it is so difficult to parse a language and infer the facts and concepts.

In Stuff of Thought and workings of Mind, Steven Pinker thinks that language is more a window into human minds.

“language emerges from human minds interacting with one another”
slang & jargon, historical change, dialect divergence, formation of new languages.

This is slightly different from the belief that the language influences how people think. Probably a better way to think about it is that both language and thinking co-evolve. And may be why we use different types of language (English, Mathematical abstractions, programming languages) to express different thoughts and concepts.

According to Steven Pinker, Human Intelligence Consists of:

A repertoire of concepts (objects, space, time, causation, intention) useful in a social, knowledge-intensive species

A process of metaphorical abstraction: conceptual structures bleached of its content, applied to new, abstract domains

I like the concept of “conceptual structures bleached of its content, applied to new, abstract domains”. I think Software Patterns are conceptual structures bleached of low level implementation details of programming.