by Dwayne Phillips
I see a trend in people using the word “modern” to describe technology. I find that unfortunate.
Just this morning, I read:
- modern data stack
- modern programming practice
- modern machine learning
- modern artificial intelligence
- modern compilers
And then I quit.
I guess I am one of “those people” who expect others to say what they mean and mean what they say or some other cliche’ that “those people” use. I am old enough to have gone through the debates about modern and post modern this and that. The use of modern as an adjective was rejected and tossed aside. The word was redefined. At least I thought it was.
Every day now I read about “modern” this and that technology. I guess the engineers and scientists didn’t go through the post-modern or post-post-modern discussions.
Modern artificial intelligence (AI) means AI practices that are less than ten years old, or is it five? Sometimes I am confused on these numbers. Then again, modern this-or-that technology usually means, “I learned this technology. I have yet to learn any approaches to problems that are older.”
That definition of “modern” is disdained. It causes us to admit that we don’t know as much as we think we do. The person realizes that, “Oh, there are other ways to solve this problem and I don’t know any of those other ways. Perhaps I should study more before opening my mouth or clicking the keys on my blog.”
Here comes the concluding part of this blog post from an old person who tends to conclude these things:
Use the adjective “recent” before stating a noun or the phrase “this is what I have learned in the last six months” around a noun. For example:
- recent machine learning techniques
- these are the machine learning techniques I have learned in the last six months
Others may understand you better as you are saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Come on folks, let’s do better.