[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: [xmca] Friesen Article: question on kinds of talk analysis
On my desk I have a photocopy of a message that I found in a bottle near my Dad's place in Washington where you visited us. According to the note it was put there on New Year's Day in 2002; I must have found it about four or five weeks later. Here it is:
"Hi, I'm Katie
"I hate spiders but I still kill them.
"I live on a bay in WA but in the summer I go to Texas because my dad lives there. He's in the Air Force. Some of my friends and I are in a band called The 4 cuties, you may ask who is in the band well Anna, Mackenzie, Amy and I.
"My favorite band is Limp Bizket.
"My Best friends Are
I don't remember anything about the wine bottle that it came in, and I think that's significant; I think it is non-accidental and nontrivial that we remember people's faces better than we remember their shoes.
You may ask why. I think that other people want it that way. You can see that Katie, young as she is, sets out on the wrong foot, by telling us her innermost, darkest emotions first. She then catches herself, reminds herself that she is talking to a sentient being who is not herself, and realizes that some "external" contextualization is in order first.
There are moments ("You may ask who is in the band") where this interesting theory that one's interlocutor has a mind which is at once similar and different is quite explicit: Katie is attempting to engage us in dialogue in order to find out what information we need in order to remember her and her friends. There are other moments when it is implicit ("I live on a bay in WA"). And there are still other moments where it is completely unconscious (like the repetition of Anna and Mackenzie, the curious omission of Amy, and the sudden, possibly signfiicant, appearance of Chase on the list of best friends).
I am always surprised that Queer Theorists have not (to my knowledge) taken much interest in Bakhtin, who appears to have been rather like Proust in his personal habits and who does not, as far as I know, have a single thing to say about any women novelists of any nationality or any period (and for English literature, that omission is very hard to sustain and must necessarily indicate a certain theory of the female mind).
More importantly, early Bakhtin is full of the importance of the BODILY recognition of the other, as an OBJECT that is both like and unlike the self. And from this BODILY recognition of the other, as both like and unlike, we get the necessity of the other to see parts of ourselves we cannot manage to see, we get the necessity of the other for the "consummation" of the self. The linguistic realization of this comes later.
But in dialogue there is something of a metalepsis; the consummation actually comes before the courtship, because our very starting point is that the other can see some of the same things that we see and others that we cannot see. So the starting point has to be something like Katie's gradually developing theory of (the other's) mind. Without a theory of (the other's) mind, and moreover a theory which can be made gradually more specific and more concrete, there can be no will to communicate, and so it goes without saying that there is only involuntary communication.
Friesen's chatbot is an example of this. As Mike says, it is made by sentient beings who are attempting to engage Sandra in dialogue. But quite unlike Katie's note, those sentient beings are not trying to find out what information we need to remember them by; at most they are trying to find out the minimum that they need to do in order to get us to do what they want. In this sense, it is like Katie's forgettable wine bottle, and not like her unforgettable note.
Seoul National University of Education
--- On Mon, 5/25/09, Steve Gabosch <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
From: Steve Gabosch <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Friesen Article: question on kinds of talk analysis
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Monday, May 25, 2009, 3:29 AM
David, I like your message in a bottle metaphor. I agree that a computer can be liked to a complex collection of messages in bottles. In this sense, any text including any form of automatic communication such as a chatbot is a kind of message in a bottle. I think you make a very good point that the message in the bottle - and the bottle - and any labels on the bottle - need to be sorted out. And as you also point out, a picture or other recording of a message in a labeled bottle is not the same thing as a message, a label or a bottle.
Reminding us to look for the social relations that **always** stand behind and emanate through messages, labels and containers is one of the important contributions that I see CHAT making.
Do you think it might be possible for CHAT methodology and the techniques of conversation analysis to be applied in combination in such a way that this is not lost?
On May 19, 2009, at 6:39 PM, David Kellogg wrote:
> That caught my eye too. Mike says somewhere...on a different thread, actually...something to the effect that when a person talks to a machine, or rather, as I like to say, pretends to be talking to a machine pretending to be a person, there is actual communication going on, because the people who built the machine are using the machine to communicate with the person who is pretending to talk to a machine pretending to be a person.
> That's true, but it's not dialogic communication. When you pick up a message in a bottle on a beach, both the message and the bottle communicate something. But that thing is not the same thing. There is a very big difference between communicating with a person writing a message who knows you have a mind and assumes that you too want to comunicate with him or her and producing a bottle and printing a label for entirely different purposes.
> It's not just that exchanging commodities is a fundamentally different human activity from exchanging information. It presupposes a very different (and higher) theory of mind. It presupposes empathy.
> Most "discourse analysis" is really not discourse analysis at all. It's the analysis of TEXTS, the recordings made of live discourse. This is really a little like analyzing a message in a bottle by looking at the bottle.
> Real discourse analysis has to start out from the point of view that texts do not communicate; people do. Conversation analysis, for all its phonological fetishism and its ethnomethodological pretensions, is a definite step in the right direction.
> But conversation analysis imagines that you can analyze a stretch of conversation without ANY outside science, that the decoding procedures are ALL available in the interaction itself to the participants themselves. I think Marxists know better; we know that a lot of the most important social relations in an interaction are hidden to even the most penetrating scientific eyes.
> For example! The problem with Friesen's article is that it really doesn't come to grips with the ultimate AIM of phone trees, chatbots, and similar. Given the lay of the social environment, I think that the ultimate aim can ONLY be (like Obama's plans for "health care reform") the further hollowing out of the middle class. The idea is that somewhere, somehow, the use of "labor saving" technologies will lead to lower costs and not just higher unemployment. We've been down THAT road before.
> Accept no substitutes for human empathy: see if your phone tree/chatbot will recognize a belch.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> xmca mailing list
xmca mailing list
xmca mailing list