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Beyond elementary semantic structures numerous sub-layers of meaning and communication exist to both enrich and complicate the way in which we interact and express our ideas and emotions. It is not what we say, but how we say it. The world of artificial intelligence and its struggle to embrace the complexities of everyday communication shows just how interdependent language, external cultural foces and the personal realm of experience can be. A simple de-coding or patterning of linguistic structures as we understand them is barely enough to compose the bare bones of the seemingly simple ways in which we communicate. The gap between intention and reception can create a crossfire of miscommunication - where meaning becomes alienated from form and the most intangible aspects of speech are cast into the spotlight. In the theoretical space between intention and reception - where communication can either prosper or become fragmented - lie determinants such as perception and recognition. We therefore largely depend upon these two elements to formulate successful interactions, and to form the fabric of what we perceive as reality - in the sense that we depend upon information to guide, instruct, elucidate and define the world around us. Sayre (1965, p. 177), examines the distinction between perception and recognition - and the roles they play in our understanding and interpretation of the world around us:
"According to the theory outlined in Plato "Meno" and Phaedo, acquisition of
knowledge is a matter of recollection or recognition. As someone comes to
know that about which he has been ignorant, he "cognizes again" .... If I have
never seen, been told about, read about or in some other way come to know
about gooseberries, then upon seeing a gooseberry for the first time I scarcely
could be said to recognize it. The next time I see a gooseberry I probably will
recognize it, if not by name then at least as an object of the sort I had seen
some time previously. But if the first time one perceives an object is the first
time one has ever been cognitively aware of such an object, perforce at that
time one does not recognize it. It is commonplace, on the other hand, that
we perceive objects which we have never perceived before, nor learned about
in any other way."
In this understanding of recognition and perception, the act of recognition is,
by definition, rooted in the realm of memory and past experience. Memory, it is
generally accepted, tends towards subjectivity, embellishment and is often
powerfully influenced by the emotions or mindset that were in force at the
time when the incident occured.
It follows that recognition is unreliable as an objective conduit for accurately
conveying intended meaning - as it will always be influenced by a recipient's
internalised framework of understanding. In this way, the eventual meaning
conveyed by a piece of information is outside of the control of the speaker
or communicator from the moment the idea leaves their immediate sphere and
enters a communication channel - whether that channel be through the medium
of speech, or through a technological pathway such as the internet.
Once a piece of information is liberated from the person in possession of
its intended meaning - it immediately falls prey to the co-authorship of social
context and recipient subjectivity. Caught in a fragmented point of juncture
between initial source, external influences and final perception and recognition
- a message is defined and understood by a melange of often contradictory
'realities'1 which - by way of their very merger and interconnectedness -
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