Précis for an action-oriented theory of language

What is a word, or message, or utterance? It is a move by an agent (~superorganism) undertaken in order to transform the environmental state, in a desired direction, by means of altering another agent’s information state. This transformation may occur directly, if the targeted slice of environment happens to be that agent whose informational state…… Continue reading Précis for an action-oriented theory of language

Language Games: Work, Play, Simulacra

Our speech may not be rational, but it is motivated. When we choose to speak, we speak for reasons.Our perceptions alter our models, alter our decisions, alter our actions. Our actions alter others’ perceptions alter models alter decisions (ad infinitum).Advertising is communication with specific, narrow motivations: envisioned ends which, in conjunction with player perceptions of…… Continue reading Language Games: Work, Play, Simulacra

Girls S2: Lip Service

“How can I be manipulating you if I don’t even know I’m being manipulative?” This, out of Hannah Horvath’s mouth after asking her father for a loan. This is the question of the Girls S2 finale. What does interpersonal manipulation really look like? Can we manipulate in a way that appears to be denying our…… Continue reading Girls S2: Lip Service

Short-term, long-term in selection games

Natural Hazard prompts in the Pfeilstorch server: “The biggest problem with misrepresenting who you are in dating is that you might succeed.” Generalized: “The biggest reason to not strategically misrepresent yourself in a selection game is that you might succeed.” What properties of a selection game determine if or when this is good advice? Selection…… Continue reading Short-term, long-term in selection games

Adaptation ripples in the NBA

Last time: Bateson was very interested in nontransitive comparisons, possibly because they subvert the commonsense transitivity of hierarchy and dominance which in many cases we read into the data because of our expectations. We rank sports teams for a winner at the end of the season, yet this final ranking aggregates a lot of non-transitivity…… Continue reading Adaptation ripples in the NBA

All Is Well E28: Functional Railroading

Previously, on communication as manipulation: “Consensual and Non-Consensual Manipulation,” “All Communication is Behavioral Manipulation,” “All Communication is Manipulation,” “Linguistic Fit,” “Is strategic interaction Machiavellian?,” “A Landscape of Communication,” and “ACiM is a Natural Extension of Cybernetic Theory.” Timestamped link to clip under discussion, beginning 5:30 in. Shi Tiandong, love interest of protagonist Su Mingyu, is…… Continue reading All Is Well E28: Functional Railroading

Value Clarity 2.0

C. Thi Nguyen’s “value clarity” concept (advanced in 2020’s Games: Agency as Art) is a useful one, whose basic idea goes like this: Nguyen believes games “work” (compel us) largely by providing value clarity for their players—that is, game worlds are characterized by artificially narrow and unambiguous set of priorities and purposes over which the…… Continue reading Value Clarity 2.0

Baselines for the would-be strategist

There’s a set of strategy maxims that get passed around Pentagon powerpoints, Greek history textbooks, and business school seminars which can be considered platitudes of the field. I think they probably boil down to about a dozen guidelines—I’ve gotten them down to fifteen here, but think good synthetic work could manage single digits. Don’t tilt…… Continue reading Baselines for the would-be strategist

A landscape of communication

Previously, on communication as manipulation: “Consensual and Non-Consensual Manipulation,” “All Communication is Behavioral Manipulation,” “All Communication is Manipulation,” “Linguistic Fit,” “Is strategic interaction Machiavellian?” and “ACiM is a Natural Extension of Cybernetic Theory.” Sure, we can bite the bullet that communication is manipulation—but what does that actually look like? We’ll time-travel to the early 2000s,…… Continue reading A landscape of communication

220120

and sometimes the player believed the universe had spoken to it through the sunlight that came through the shuffling leaves of the summer trees and sometimes the player believed the universe had spoken to it through the light that fell from the crisp night sky of winter, where a fleck of light in the corner…… Continue reading 220120

ACiM is a natural extension of cybernetic theory

Previously, on communication as manipulation: “Consensual and Non-Consensual Manipulation,” “All Communication is Behavioral Manipulation,” “All Communication is Manipulation,” “Linguistic Fit,” “Is strategic interaction Machiavellian?” and “Economics Thinking.” At the core of cybernetics is the idea of agents—synthetic and organic, human and machine and animal—as servomechanisms, or “servos.” Servos are machines which use feedback to correct…… Continue reading ACiM is a natural extension of cybernetic theory