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Thread: Why do we use sound to communicate?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I think the hypothesis is that the speed of language is not really limited by the sound but more by the time it takes our brains to process the information, either on the transmitting side or the receiving side (I'm not sure which...)
    Probably both. I often say ďuhĒ or pause in other ways when I talk, and who hasnít thought of what they wished they had said later? On the other side, Iíve occasionally used those speedup features available to play some audio and video. I can handle two times normal speed if what Iím listening to isnít on a complex technical subject, but it can get tiring. Reading is a bit different since you can speed up or slow down or read something over as you like. My standard reading speed is a fair bit faster than listening speed, but I do slow down when I hit something complex.

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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    Vision is higher-speed, higher bandwidth and just as capable of conveying all the nuances as sound. Humans in particular are far more visually oriented than most mammals. So why do we still use sound to communicate?
    Compression, in a word. Compare pantomime to words. Language is highly compressed information, just think of the wealth of denotation and connation in, say, the word "lawyer". Then there's metaphor. Much is afoot in handy language.

    (just dropping by and this caught my eye)

  3. #33
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    It is true that context is vital. Language is garbage if you do not have that language. The london, or any, underground train map is an excellent example of visual information which would take a thousand words to describe. But it works because you know the cultural context as well as the words. Itis not bandwidth, it is shared symbolism.
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    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
    Much is afoot in handy language.
    And let's not forget wordplay.

    But I'm pretty sure you can have compression in a sign language, it's not confined to verbal speech.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  5. #35
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    Evolution never invents something new based on how theoretically ideal it would be for the intended purpose. It modifies what's already there in some form. And our relatives have been communicating by sound since long long long long before language... or hands... or the current state of the human (or primate) visual system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    Evolution never invents something new based on how theoretically ideal it would be for the intended purpose. It modifies what's already there in some form.
    That's an important point to remember. Evolution is not about efficiency or precision engineering, evolution is "good enough". Makes it all the more remarkable that it's achieved all it has, including us.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    That's an important point to remember. Evolution is not about efficiency or precision engineering, evolution is "good enough". Makes it all the more remarkable that it's achieved all it has, including us.
    Yep, it makes for an interesting thought experiment. If you could re-design the human, what traits/efficiencies would you invoke?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmocrazy View Post
    Yep, it makes for an interesting thought experiment. If you could re-design the human, what traits/efficiencies would you invoke?
    May be worthy of a separate thread. How about getting rid of male pattern baldness?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    May be worthy of a separate thread. How about getting rid of male pattern baldness?
    But that helps cool the active brain!
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  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmocrazy View Post
    Yep, it makes for an interesting thought experiment. If you could re-design the human, what traits/efficiencies would you invoke?
    Sticking to the thread topic I would provide a communication link to the emotional system to indicate the current state to others but also to self. This could be coloured patches on the skin for example or of the iris, (mirrors allowed) . It would be debatable whether this should be uncontrollable. We at the moment are limited to blushing, blanching and some facial contortion.

    Otherwise conscious control of the immune system would be useful, with it working into old age.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    May be worthy of a separate thread. How about getting rid of male pattern baldness?
    Good idea on both counts!

  12. #42
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    We use sound for communication because it's faster. Yes, we read quickly, I do not argue. But in order for you to convey information to someone, you must first provide it to him. If we are talking about vision, then you first need to write, and then someone will read the information and then answer. And with the sound it is easier, you speak, and the interlocutor at the same time "digests" your information, and as soon as you have finished, he is immediately ready to give you an answer.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Page View Post
    We use sound for communication because it's faster. Yes, we read quickly, I do not argue. But in order for you to convey information to someone, you must first provide it to him. If we are talking about vision, then you first need to write, and then someone will read the information and then answer. And with the sound it is easier, you speak, and the interlocutor at the same time "digests" your information, and as soon as you have finished, he is immediately ready to give you an answer.
    Depends on what you are communicating, how much information you are trying to convey and at what distance the information needs to travel.

    For example if you were to see someone from a distance aim a gun at you, would you wait for the sound of the shot before reaching for cover?

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Page View Post
    We use sound for communication because it's faster. Yes, we read quickly, I do not argue. But in order for you to convey information to someone, you must first provide it to him. If we are talking about vision, then you first need to write, and then someone will read the information and then answer. And with the sound it is easier, you speak, and the interlocutor at the same time "digests" your information, and as soon as you have finished, he is immediately ready to give you an answer.
    Gestures and facial expressions can be done very quickly but their information density is low. We do have sign languages but verbal speech is faster.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmocrazy View Post
    For example if you were to see someone from a distance aim a gun at you, would you wait for the sound of the shot before reaching for cover?
    Not a fully satisfying analogy. I also wouldn't wait to see the muzzle flash before seeking cover.
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  16. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    Not a fully satisfying analogy. I also wouldn't wait to see the muzzle flash before seeking cover.
    Good point, I suppose it depends on the distance and your reaction time.

    My point was that in certain situations I would prefer to rely on sight rather than sound, due to light travelling much faster than sound.

  17. #47
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    Hello,

    On TVOntario's "The Agenda", "John Colapinto: What Makes Human Speech So Powerful?"

    https://www.tvo.org/video/john-colap...ch-so-powerful

    I did not pay close attention. He, and others, believe speech is what makes us exceptional. I believe our ability at commuication (and speech) is a consequence of our cognitive abilities. These abilities make us exceptional.

    YMMV,

  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7cscb View Post
    Hello,

    On TVOntario's "The Agenda", "John Colapinto: What Makes Human Speech So Powerful?"

    https://www.tvo.org/video/john-colap...ch-so-powerful

    I did not pay close attention. He, and others, believe speech is what makes us exceptional. I believe our ability at commuication (and speech) is a consequence of our cognitive abilities. These abilities make us exceptional.

    YMMV,
    Agreed. Our ability to make meaningful words is a consequence of being able to mentally manipulate abstract symbols and assign them meanings. Take that away and it's all banana good Koko like banana.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  19. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Page View Post
    We use sound for communication because it's faster. Yes, we read quickly, I do not argue. But in order for you to convey information to someone, you must first provide it to him. If we are talking about vision, then you first need to write, and then someone will read the information and then answer. And with the sound it is easier, you speak, and the interlocutor at the same time "digests" your information, and as soon as you have finished, he is immediately ready to give you an answer.
    I'm just pointing this out because people sometimes forget about this. Communication by speech and writing is very different. Speech is something we actually evolved to do, so it's part of our nature, essentially. All humans learn to communicate by speech unless they have hearing difficulties or other medical issues. But writing is a representation of speech that was developed and is not innate at all. So there are many people around the world who cannot read, and in fact just several centuries ago it was quite common for people not to read.

    I may be wrong, but I sort of interpreted the OP as asking, "why do we communicate by sound rather than with lights or something the way fireflies do?"
    As above, so below

  20. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    Vision is higher-speed, higher bandwidth and just as capable of conveying all the nuances as sound. Humans in particular are far more visually oriented than most mammals. So why do we still use sound to communicate?
    Actually, it occurred to me that perhaps this question has not really been asked. How do you imagine we could use vision to communicate? Are you imagining that we would use a system of lights like fireflies or something like that? Or are you thinking of gestures?
    As above, so below

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