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They are available in the runtime, so you can do runtime reflection on the annotations and perform dependency injection if that is your thing. In that sense they do something: they provide information to the runtime which you can use if you want.

I think this is just a semantic argument at this point, but to me what you mention isn't evidence of the annotations doing anything. They make it possible for things to be done, just as I said.

The distinction I'm drawing is to statically-typed languages where simply adding annotations will actually change semantics of the program (e.g., by forcing a downcast or something).

But you're absolutely right that annotations can be useful for many things!

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