artificial intelligence, italian style

“ ‘Excuse me,’ said Olga, interrupting her. She turned to her husband. ‘Does she speak too? The machine, I mean.’

‘Not in the normal sense, no. It doesn’t know languages. We’ve been firm about that. It would have been fatal if we’d taught it a language. Speech is the greatest enemy of mental clarity. Through wanting to express his thoughts in words at all costs, man has got himself into such a mess that—’ ”

(Dino Buzzati, Larger Than Life (1960), trans. Henry Reed, p. 72)

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