Unlike programming languages, natural language acquires meaning in a context way larger than any artificial language's compiler, or, to put it another way, the compiler for natural language is world-sized and fluid and the output isn't predictable because the OS isn't predictable, unlike with php/c/js/whatever where those parameters are tightly controlled.

The eventual translation of author's intention into understanding depends more on where it's executed than on the author's internal workings, although the author's "in-tune-ness" to the new OS affects how well their message will be received. I think the audience is more critical to this process than the origin. If the linguistic methods that developed and were successful in the past were only successful because the recipient OS made them so, it stands to reason that if the recipient OS shifts in response to major events like wars, pandemics, etc, previous modes of communication will no longer be as powerful as they once were, or even make any sense in the new context. Any new method that accidentally (or scientifically) taps in to the new semantic reality will prevail, at least until the OS shifts again. The question of "what's the role of words in the future", IMO is fairly simple to answer: same as it ever was.

What would be incredibly interesting and helpful isn't an analysis of the shift but the next step: prediction of the next shift. What are the patterns in language understanding changes and what events precipitated them? What shifts are coming next? What do we do to switch our mode of communication to one that is becoming prevalent in some areas of the world OS?

One area where I find this particularly interesting is the beyond-word communication that seems to have occurred notably twice in the last century: first, in 1918-1930s Germany, with Hitler's & Goebbels' use of meta-language to ignite a populist/nationalist world war, and second, in 2010-now US (and a few other countries), with Trump's and [unknown Goebbels equivalent]'s use of meta-language to ignite a populist/nationalist insurrection (and a barely perceptible slow-motion civil war).

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Thanks Venkat, great read. On reading your closing questions, my mind instantly went to a series of essays I came across yesterday. You may already be across them but this narrative, public investigation into the real cause of obesity is pretty enthralling and feels new in some way - https://slimemoldtimemold.com/2021/07/07/a-chemical-hunger-part-i-mysteries/

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