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Mental health terms in papers, trends and opinions

I read a paper recently, a quite good one:

ExplORB-SLAM: Active Visual SLAM Exploiting the Pose-graph Topology

Julio A. Placed, Juan J. Gómez Rodríguez, Juan D. Tardós, José A. Castellanos

Accepted 2022.

arXiv.

Github.

My Twitter thread.

and I had a criticism, that the paper uses the term ‘hallucinate’, one example:

The pose-graph from ORB-SLAM is hallucinated towards every frontier spotted, thus creating as many graphs as frontiers.

While I had never seen this term used in academic literature, ‘hallucinate’ seems to be a thing, especially in NLP. There are 356 papers on arXiv with this word in the abstract at the time of this writing. From the definitions people provided, ‘hallucinated’ seems to mean some kind of weak prediction, or some prediction under circumstances where there is not enough information. I wouldn’t have chosen hallucination for that meaning, especially after scanning the Wikipedia page on it.

The use of this word is not my personal hill to die on, though it does bring up the selection of words for academic papers and the recent trend to avoid using mental health terms outside of a mental health context. You can read more on why using mental health terms appropriately is important from Grammarly.

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