Striving with Contextual speakers

“Are you connected to WiFi?, isn’t it slow?”

First part of above sentence is objectively denotes ‘WiFi’. The second part contextually denotes ‘WiFi’ through the word – ‘it’.

According Merriam-Webster, Context is defined as,

The parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning

Every tech giant is boasting that their digital assistants can understand our contextual conversation. Indeed it is a big step for machines to understand our natural speech.

Leave about the machines, sometimes, it’s tough for us to understand some of the contextual speakers. My roommate, happened to be my colleague, he is highly qualified contextual speaker.

That day I was cooking. For starters preparing an Indian cuisine is like mission critical chemical experiment, involving several chemicals (aka spices) in predefined volume added at proper timing in a specific order. Being a novice, I was following the instruction which I received from my mom and struggling with my memento-type memory to recall the steps. Even a sneeze can make force to lose the steps.

Then my friend shouting from his room,

“DID IT HAVE MONEY?”
 “WHAT?”
<No response>

I realized he was talking about laundry card which we were talking about in the evening. Perfect setup for me to lose focus. That dinner became a punishment. If it was medieval period, I could’ve applied for a Chief-Torturing-Officer post in my kingdom.

I was debugging my of code the other day. Is debugging a big deal? Of course, it is.

“Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.” — Brian Kernighan

The number of lines of code directly affects your focus on debugging and the piece of code  I was going through stretches few 1000 lines. Essentially, my mind was looking for a distraction. TADA! A contextual speaker came to rescue.

This time another co-worker,  out of nowhere questioned “did you got the mail?”.  I took few minutes to check my mailbox. By the time I found the mail he was talking about was about Northern Lights,  the flow got interrupted. Now, I have to start from the beginning.

A good communication involves making the listener to understand your idea without allowing possible second thoughts to creep into the listener. Contrary to this, contextual speakers, most of the time, makes ambiguous statements. Think about “Laundry card has money?” instead of DID IT HAVE MONEY? or “Check the mail on Northern Lights” rather than “did you got the mail?”. This could have cleanly described the subject he was talking about. The answering the clear questions won’t need much of the efforts and I would have continued with the work.

Let’s make communication simpler by reducing the contextual usage. After all, we are just a social collaborators.

 

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