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Collins Dictionary picks ‘AI’ as its word of the year

Collins Dictionary has named “AI” as its word of the year, defining it as an “abbreviation for artificial intelligence: the modelling of human mental functions by computer programs.”

“Considered to be the next great technological revolution, AI has seen rapid development and has been much talked about in 2023,” the UK-based dictionary publisher said in a statement announcing its decision.

While AI’s capabilities in mimicking human speech fascinated people at first, they were also the source of some anxiety, according to Collins.

“If computers were suddenly experts in that most human of domains, language, what next? Cue an explosion of debate, scrutiny, and prediction, and more than enough justification for Collins’ 2023 Word of the Year: AI,” the statement continues.

The inaugural Global AI Summit on AI Safety got underway in the United Kingdom Wednesday. It is being hosted by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Bletchley Park, which served as headquarters for the Allied Forces codebreaking program during World War II, and will feature speakers including US Vice President Kamala Harris.

Other contenders for Collins’ word of the year included “de-influencing,” when a social media influencer uses their popularity “to warn followers to avoid certain commercial products, lifestyle choices, etc,” as well as “nepo baby,” which refers to a person “whose career is believed to have been advanced by having famous parents.” Also on the shortlist were “canon event,” defined as an experience “essential to the formation of an individual’s character or identity,” and ”ultra-processed foods,” which are “prepared using complex industrial methods” and often consist of “ingredients with little or no nutritional value.”

In addition, Collins mentions the weight-loss drug “semaglutide,” also known as “Ozempic,” which has become a sensation after appearing to help people lose weight by suppressing their appetites, as well as “greedflation,” a term that refers to the alleged practice of some businesses making excessive price hikes in a bid to maximize profits at a time of high inflation in the UK.

Last year, the dictionary named “permacrisis”—an extended period of instability and insecurity”—as its word of the year, following on from “NFT,” the abbreviation of “non-fungible token,” or “a unique digital certificate, registered in a blockchain, that is used to record ownership of an asset such as an artwork or a collectible” in 2021.

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