Thursday, 12 August 2010

Algorithmic vs Semiotic Search:

The Fall of Consciousness in a Cognitive Sedan Chair

Algorhythmic search is effective. You search statistical proportions of single stupid search in huge number;stupid here means with no clue; and huge number probably can mean a “googol”. The story is straight: take a very simple task, take a unbefuckilievable big number of samples, connect with an algorithm. To give this algorithm strategy a name, let's go for stigmergic: this is pretty much what ants do. But the question is: can it work for men? The simple answer is: Goddamit yes!
Instead of inventing resourceful expensive task, you have very simple ones.And cheap, resourcefully and cognitively cheap. The system as a whole is a lot faster. A lot. So it can grow bigger and more complex: that means more powerful. I don't about you, but I like complexity, so as a rule of thumb, I find positive this enrichment.

But, we got some downside. First, it tends to consolidate the system as a whole, which is good is you searching for stability, not so good if you're searching flexibility. Why? Well, it's in line with the fascism of feedback: a feedback can be a feedback only if the system stays the same: other wise it can't use the feedback as a feedback! Simple, but for example our brain doesn't work this way. Re-entry information change the system, which continuously adapts to new re-entrant information. I still don't know about you, but I keep on liking complexity and brain is one my favourite buddy-theme. For this I'm a bit bitchy with feedback (comments from other human beings are more complex than proper pure informational feedback).

Second point: health. Health is always important. If you're rich and ill, you're fucked (even if you're poor and health you're fucked, but in a different way. In this post we consider a priority “wellfare” of the system, so kudos for health rather than money). Homogeneity in a system make it per definition every region more consistent to each other; so you can connect better the regions because they are clearly more compatible. This is good if you pestered by colleagues using different operative systems. This is not good if you're the immune system; you want some degree of compatibility, but you like diversity in order to be able of upgrading your defense. Let's talk about this. In biology complex device must pay off. If you don't have advantages, you don't need swankies devices. The story of epidemy indeed shows that the rare occurrence of a viral epidemy kills between 80/90% of the population. The survivors were the only ones who committed a bit to diversity. Conclusion? If you're an individual you don't five a damn about your species global welfare, so forget it. But from an overall perspective, the integrity of the system is put at risk with homogeneity.

Now we can come back. In our cognitive adventures, algorithmic search is giving what we asked. This is efficient and stupid. A semiotic search on the contrary is complicated, expensive and fallible. During your research, you'll find a lot of different things you don't need; while you're involved in your activity, you consume your time and resources; finally, it's likely you don't find what you were searching for. So? Well, so sometimes it's better not to find what you were searching for. Two reason:1) you were searching something actually stupid\pointless\outdated\ ;2) what you found is more interesting\valuable\meaningful. Further on your enterprise exercised your cognitive equipment: we are not searching for finding (primarily), but only to explore our environment.

A semiotic research is actually the deployment of what consciousness is meant for: exploration of a semiotic environment. On the contrary an algorithmic search makes you giving up cognitively expensive enterprise. Then we rest on a lazy cognitively attitude and we are not ready for viral attacks on our consciousness (you don't need to wait for alien-like beasts: a viral attack on your consciousness can come from a religion. Or a TV series.).

In other words algorithmic search is mutating our attitude, degrading the level of complexity. Hang on. Am I saying I don't like Internet, google and stigmergic collaboration??? NO! But we need to re-shape our consciousness' enterprise in order not to be shut down by some cognitive virus. At the end, our cognitive system is close to be disconnected by the understanding of its own means of production: we are already disconnected by the understanding of our means for living comfortably, it's the price of living in big societies. But losing the understanding of our means of understanding it's different. Of course, providing we are not that unhappy with a Bye Bye consciousness....

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