Jorge Luis Borges on the English Language

On 1977-02-01 Jorge Luis Borges, Argentinian writer of imaginative fiction who, in 1941’s short story, “The Library of Babel”, imagined the “universal library”, an archetype which has since figured in innumerable works of fiction and even been cited in connection with the combinatorial explosion of the number of possible genomic sequences and proteins in biology, sat down for a one hour conversation with William F. Buckley on the latter’s television programme, Firing Line.

During the interview, he said, “I find English a far finer language than Spanish”, and went on to explain why and reasons “I have done most of my reading in English”.

The video above is presented in portrait mode due to reasons. Here is the full Firing Line interview; the extracted passage occurs at 17:16 in the video.


A recent paper estimates the amount of high quality training data available is about 9 trillion words, give or take a few trillion. That sounds enormous, until you realise modern AI has already pretty much mined (read) all of it. After that point, there’ll be nothing new left to learn. Remember, Gen AI can not cure cancer, or create the schematics for a working warp drive, because humanity hasn’t discovered how to do that yet. Gen AI can only join the dots backwards, not forwards.