Unsafe Regions

Antartificial speech is not compiled
as is programmed computer code;
granted, it does have a grammar,
but it is not, as a rule, rigorous—
nor enforced at the time the words
intended for end users are composed.

Code, by contrast, conforms to specs
and cannot but execute precisely:
the compiler processes programs
to ensure that digital correlates
of prepositions do not dangle,
modifiers are not misplaced,
a complement is not a compliment.

Yet if code does compile correctly
even then its execution is not failsafe:
the program design must always account
for input which falls outside the bounds
of variables which have been declared;
e.g., code which scans batches of eggs
needs to gracefully handle “thirteen”
as our CPUs intuit no baker’s dozens.

Some software languages are written
to check variable boundaries when run,
ensuring that mistaken user input
leads not to a blue-screen demise;
such runtime libraries in humanospeaks
would be useful for heated exchanges
with a garrulouspouse in the wake
of one’s disastroviz with the in-laws
on the Christmas after Oma’s death.

Compilers, programmed by sapients,
are enabled to clearly differentiate
between “safe regions” of code
(where bounds need not be checked)
and those which Alan Turing, et al.,
ken cannot count on integrous intent—
a conceipt which their semanticists
have never begun to truly grasp.

But computers are finitely bound
by the programs written for them
even should the code yield intelligence
of our allegedly artifarcical variety:
a chatbot which exhibits learning
did not learn to learn on its own;
said bot simply japes its maker.

Are you mazed more by rows-o’-bots
than by the heigh novelty of Chaucer,
the foison of words Shakespeare coined,
John Milton’s minted Pandemonium,
the mimsy nonces of Lewis Carroll—
verily, these bespawned sans ChatGPT?

        Ideas are to zygotes
        what words are to bairns.
        Hence: post-war computation
        birthed a complexicon

        of bits and RAM and EPROM
        software and machine code
        compilers and assemblers
        programs and processors;

        and when Mennonite
        women’s vocabulary
        was stripped of terms
        for progenital truths

        they could not convey
        the violate experience
        of tranquilized communal
        rape and molestation.

        Yet when need arises
        so also will the words:
        why mint murmuration
        before one is heard?

        When one is witnessed
        will it be soon forgot?
        No; onomatopoetics
        succeed the memory.

        We dare not believe
        our glossaries cradle
        all the verbal offspring
        of imagined nations;

        so long I to write
        aweighted words
        of unbound thoughts
        from unsafe regions.

About Greg Wright

I have worn many hats as a writer and editor over the years. Unlike my scholarly and journalistic work from the "old days" at Hollywood Jesus, Past the Popcorn, or SeaTac Blog, the writing here is of a more overtly personal and spiritual nature. I hope it provokes you as much as it provokes me.
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