Friday, 6 November 2009

Human programming: ecnode teh ambgiuity

Cybernetics is the explicit intent to program human beings to do at best some tasks. Of course this is what human beings have always done without saying it aloud. In general we can say that a human brain is programming himself. One of the most spectacular feature of the human brain is the informational re-entry. Basically the brain is spending much more time talking (and listening!)
to himself, that with the outside. But when we are speaking of a human mind, we are already halfway: indeed to have One human mind, you need at least Many. A human mind not only flourish in an environment rich of other human minds:it can only happen in such an environment. We don't know
(yet) if it's possible a solitary intelligence.
We know for sure that you can meet human minds only in a very rich mind environment; we can call this rich environment, culture. This environment is overpopulated by information. But information is something misguiding. In our very rich informational environment, what we are talking about, why? Why we are encoding so many information, what is the purpose? Information is something that stands for. So for what is standing our world of information?
I tell you a story, an ambiguous one...

First, information. It's very imprecise (!!!) (philosophically...) the way information is treated in the information theory. In the lifeless universe, you don't have information. Protons and the like are not encoding information, they aren't something that stand for something else: they are the things. In the chemical reaction you don't have processes that stands for something else: they are the things of the processes.
A body is attracted to another body not because they are exchanging information: gravity is the thing, not something that stands for it! So you have information only with the peculiar systems that we call living beings: the real information factory.

Amongst living beings, you have humans. Humans are the lords of the informational exchange: they can trade information as nothing did before. A human brain can store a lot of information. But a human mind even more! To activate a human mind, you need to put a human brain in a rich informational environment, populated by other human minds and most of all, populated by structures of information that can be used by the brain to stand as a mind. A brain can start to think only after the assistance of cultural infrastructures: just think of speaking. No child can learn alone how to speak. And to speak, you need to learn an individual form of possible human languages. To speak, you need to speak of something.
Stop for a while to image your brain as a machine, scanning the environment in search of information: of course it's what your brain does and indeed it's
what a newborn brain does. But when this newborn brain is immersed in a cultural environment, the surroundings of the newborn brain start to stands for something. Information becomes meaning.

With some analogies to the distinction made with the lifeless universe, information in
a cultureless environment differs from the one in an environment with. One is that in a cultural informational environment, the encoding is quite ambiguous. Meanings are not analogically and unambiguously encoding of information: they stand for something, they are traded publicly and so there is a degree of shared encoding. But there is not force holding together meanings and what they stand for: everyone has a peculiar shape of his use. Technically (and chomskly) everyone is speaking is own idiolect. What is the informational advantage? Well, if you are encoding ambiguously, you can encode more: you have more dimensions to wrap your meanings in.
The amount of information you can encode in the human misunderstanding is huge:
precisely for the ambiguity. Now think of ambiguity not as an obstacle to the true meaning, but as a resource to encode more meanings. This is what we normally do when we are speaking. Now if you were a human being with many dimensions to store information, what would you do? I personally would enjoy this ability to encode in several informational dimensions; I also would try to manipulate this information, maybe building
new way to wrap even more information. You know, I'll probably try to leverage even more on ambiguity and instead of writing endless report about the informational surrounding, I'll probably would scan my environment narratively. Yes, this is what I'd do if I were a human being: I'll encode more informational ambiguity in narrative dimensions.

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