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<nettime> are you 0 or 1 ?
Morlock Elloi on Wed, 2 Jan 2019 02:06:40 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> are you 0 or 1 ?

The article below examines what could be the essence of issues we're facing today, the issues of hidden workings of things around us. It shows how communication revolutions are revolutions of reductions.

It's time to realize that increasing efficiency, reducing waste, growing productivity, etc., is a death knell. We can only exist within the noise, leakage, overhead, wear, slipping, redundancy.

The case can be made against general purpose computers. Maybe they should be outlawed. Each thing does one function, like can opener or scissors, and its 'instruction set' is interpretable by humans. Each 'program' will contain few instructions obvious to almost anyone (no more binary encoding, instead use sexagesimal system - radix 60 - as Sumerians did.) No need for abstracting higher level languages, as humans will find the 'machine languages' palatable. Embodying function in an object will make clandestine functionality impossible.

The point is that making workings of the technology obvious makes the whole ecosystem of deception disappear. Is this realistic? In most civilized places you cannot walk on he street wearing a mask. Contracts have to use certain language. So there may be precedence in legalizing transparency, at the very base level. Do not confuse this with ToS, various 'directives' and similar bs., when someone pretends to tell you what is going on or what must be going on.

[ machine translation from https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Kommunikation-Was-zeichnet-Code-Revolutionen-aus-4246072.html ]

Communication: What distinguishes code revolutions?

December 30, 2018
Günther Orend

Theses on the genealogy of communication and introduction of communicative transcendence

Thesis 1: Digitization is a turning point in human cultural development, as is the shift from iconography to phonetics.

One knows the general place that the digitization represents a comparable to the invention of the book printing. This is too short and on closer inspection superficial. Our previous code consisted of 26 letters and 10 numbers. In fact, not only has a new system for the reproduction of code been created, but a new code has been introduced which gives our culture a great advantage. This new code is binary, that is, it comes with two symbols: 1 and 0.

Thesis 2: Digitalization and its potential have been enormously underestimated so far. The full extent of the consequences was not recognized. This digital revolution is not just about theories, but about what's really possible. The amount of conceivable and the amount of feasible will approach each other rapidly.

Thesis 3: The essential advantage that Jewish culture has gained over others was based on the very early introduction of a phonetic transcription (consonant writing). Just as Asian equestrians were able to conquer the physical world very early on by inventing the stirrup, the Jews conquered the spirit world with the invention of phonetic spelling - in that most peoples adopted phonetic transcriptions. The simultaneous transmission of religious content to the Torah is at least close, because existing examples must have been used to illustrate the new communication principle.

For this we have to take a closer look at the advantages of phonetic transcription compared to the old icon font. Hebrew letters have come from icons:

Aleph was the icon that depicted a bull's head and referred to it.

Beth was the icon that represented and referred to a house.

Gimel was the icon that represented a camel and reported on it.


Today's Hebrew letters are abstracted icons. So Jewish culture must have known a variety of icons at one time in its history, like the Egyptian ones. Over time, however, there was a reduction to 24 icons, all of which were reduced to an initial consonant. Thus, the former icons no longer referred to references in the world but became references to sounds of language. Through this first case of self-referentiality of communication, the potential of writing was increased enormously. These icons were eventually reduced to pure symbols that form today's Hebrew alphabet. display

Thesis 4: The respective benefit of a new code revolution versus an old one has to be exponentially increased.

Thesis 5: Digital communication has a higher potential than our reproductive biology, because life is reproduced using a 4-character code.

At this point, the transcendent concept of communication has to be introduced. To illustrate, I have chosen a sphere model. Because the development of human communication was in spheres.

The first sphere of communication was the inarticulate sounds of the first monkey humans. This was followed by the second sphere of the voiced and sung proto-language, which could already refer to more in the world. The third sphere represented the articulated language, which in turn was another empowerment of man over the world. In the fourth sphere, the first icons were published that made communication independent of place and time and again extended the human radius.

In the fifth sphere came the phonetic transcription, which by means of linguistic self-referentiality - signs stand for speech sounds and not for signified in the world - made possible a considerable abstraction in thought, which considerably extended the intellectual and communicative horizon of man. In the sixth sphere, finally, the digitization took place, which, by means of further character reduction and telecommunication, made the individual human beings in his communication independent of time and place. Each extension of one communicative sphere to another represented an act of communicative transcendence. Metaphorically, each of these acts grew into the space that encompassed this sphere. In this case, the space stands for the amount of the expressible, conceivable and feasible.

Ludwig Wittgenstein had an immanent communication image in his Tractatus logico-philosophicus. So he concludes his famous essay: "What you can not talk about, you have to be silent about that." The purpose of this article is to introduce a transcendent communication model. As history shows, human communication has always outgrown itself. Therefore, I would like to supplement Wittgenstein as follows: "What you can not talk about yet, you have to be silent about that."

The space of communication is not static, as Wittgenstein suggested, but dynamic. There is a limit to communication, but it is not fixed but expandable, and as Wittgenstein rightly concluded, "The limits of my language are the limits of my world."

Paradoxically, the number of characters needed with each new sphere of communication decreases. Even the icon font had fewer signs than the articulated language, the phonetic transcription with fewer characters than the icon font, and the digital code with fewer characters than the alphabetic-numeric code.

Conclusion: The whole potential of communicative transcendence lies not in the diversity of signs, but in the reduction and limitation to the essential.

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