What's the opposite of 'hype'?
September 26, 2007
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There must be an antonym for ‘hype.’ To hype something is to engage in hyperbole about it: Apple products have generated their share of hype. (For example: Steve Jobs said, “We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.”) I don’t mean ‘anti-hype’ in the sense of telling the approximate truth about something, desengaño or dis-illusionment. But after the IPhone announcement, Steve Ballmer said, “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” Ballmer was deliberately understating the case. In rhetoric, meiosis comes pretty close. And diss comes pretty close, too, though both of these lack that ‘the person doing this should really know better” connotation of ‘hype.’
Anyway, I got to thinking about this after listening to Marketplace’s piece on the company I work for, Powerset, in which Leo LaPorte “explains its efforts” to Kai Ryssdal.
Example 1: LaPorte says, “I just want to point out that artificial intelligence has been a horrendous failure since the day the term was coined.” Well, the term was coined approximately 50 years ago, and, although there have been very significant failures in AI, there have been plenty of successes as well (see, for example, the list on the AAAI website, and its article on the “The AI Effect“).
Example 2: LaPorte (having been asked about AskJeeves) says, “AskJeeves is a very good example. They’re still around, they’ve been around as long as Google, they’ve spent a lot of money on advertising. But they’re still a distant second.” In other words, a company is only successful if they have more than half the market share; and an implication that Powerset claims it can beat Google in market share. As far as I know, Powerset has never claimed we can take away Google’s lead in the search market place–we are working on things which we think are better than some of Google’s approaches in core search, but this isn’t a claim that we can beat Google in market share.
I’d have a little more respect for the Marketplace commentary if they’d managed to spell our company name correctly. You know, you could have googled it to get it right, Kai.