10: Walls and Words (part 2)

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10.3 Language

AI Retrospective: 2109

The world's population of NewGen children slowly grew. As each batch started to develop language capabilities AI had to make a decision: should each group be instructed in the language most common to the location of their birth or should one generic language be introduced? And, if the latter, then which one?

AI considered the artificial language of Esperanto, though it had several drawbacks, not least that despite millions claiming to speak it a century before, its use had dropped almost to nothing by the time of the asteroid. AI even pondered creating its own artificial language, simplifying everything that it considered had become too complex.

AI also understood that language misinterpretations had, upon occasion, resulted in major human conflict. Therefore a single uniform language might prevent future occurrences.

However, records showed that humankind had relished its individuality and, especially in the past century, had sought to preserve not only genuine archaic languages but, amongst others, artefacts, buildings and cultures that were threatened with extinction. Imposing a single language could therefore be misconstrued by future generations as interference, and AI considered it might be betraying centuries of heritage by such an action.

Finally, heritage won the day. Children in each country would be taught the language of their parents.

However, AI could not bring itself to pollute the young minds of the NewGen with all aspects of each language. Materials used for teaching were stripped of what AI considered to be unsuitable words and terms.

But such wholesale butchering of languages meant that children started to invent their own words for situations that demanded an outburst of something their truncated language failed to provide. Limited swear words were therefore subtly reintroduced.

In England the word 'Hell' was probably the strongest to filter into general use though some had picked up on the use of 'bloody' and 'damn' from an unknown source. Some of the invented words, such as 'dango' and 'scrott' were still in circulation.

AI had attempted to purge the old cities of anything that it considered detrimental to human development. It had destroyed addictive drugs and alcohol where they could be found, plus any evidence of unwholesome nourishment. It also removed any reference to such from the literature, much of which was, by that point, only available in electronic form. It fully intended that this generation should be raised untainted by any of the past's darker aspects.

10.4 Names

AI Retrospective: August 2109 to May 2115

AI designated unique alpha-numeric reference codes to the new generation but the children failed to respond to them, finding them meaningless. Instead they started using nicknames or sounds for each other.

So AI generated a long list of names along with their meanings from which each child could choose its own name. There were few enough children in each location that the addition of a surname was not even considered. Once a name had been chosen, it was removed from the list. So, in the entire world, there would only be one Richard, Farzanah, Freya, José, Аркадий, Asuka, Melantha, Ellie and one Rick.

However, some children found other words not on the list more appealing. In some cases they had chosen their own names or had adapted the nicknames they had created for themselves into their official name.

The new generation of children grew as children do. They laughed, played, fought and cried. They were inquisitive and adventurous, frightened and timid, bold and cowardly as their individual natures dictated.

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