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Excerpt from "I am a strange loop"

List of authors who influenced this book:
Note some overlap, which is to be expected. Also, I did read, derived and learned something from Jacques Monod listed here but he did not came to mind when I myself went through that exercise.  and because I read his name right now I would probably put it in my conceptual semantics cloud of mortal souls that I am connected-to (in the sense of geneaility of ideas). Connected-to here is more often then not symmetrical, is not bi-directional.

Trading an "I" for an "I"
This probably translates pretty bad, yet it probably is a good pun to describe the process of re-authoring. By "re-authoring" we mean here adapting content so it's less abstract generalities and more simple direct experiences. And my direct experiences are not yours.  Essentially converting a third-person generality into a first-person stance which facilitates association.  First-person culture is relatively a younger phenomena, it did not exist in the middle-age.

The Mind's You
Some things you cannot prove. You can say you prefer this over that, that the reasons for your preference might be completely external to the ideas juxtaposed.So a bit like in a way there is a strange "I" which might be myself 25 years ago, there is probably a sort of "you" that I could modeled as an attentive, educated and skeptical yet "open-minded".  That "You" is not "you" but over time it acquires it's own conscience. It becomes sufficiently defined to allow a dialogue between the abstract "I" and the abstract "You"... to allow to role-play "you" and vice-versa from the standpoint of the Book at least.

Modeling a Writer over time
We probably all have, at least with a few writers, even if it's a newspaper sports writer, some relationship over time. Some author by name, a personality, we read as opposed to simply be reading anonymous factual reporting. As that writer writes (writing is what writers do) about different things, we progressively form a mental model of what that author thinks (at least in the defined context). Acquiring experience reading someone adds additional value to processing criticial commentaries.  For example, a movie critic you read every week and occasionally that you can compare against your own opinion becomes over time predictable and much more useful then random commentary by anonymous people.

- Relationships
As we develop a sort of weak dependency on another opinion leader, although naturally such is not as emotionally strongly binded as siblings (e.g. a mom feeling for a child), somehow part of our development depends for success being influenced by someone else, how someone else thinks about a set of things.  We all know that you can be interested by the words of A and someone else by the words of B.  We also know that we change over time, so that to retain our interest A needs to adapt. In that sense an evolutionary/revisionist framework has the potential to persist longer - to sustain our interest, to maintain the value of the relationship over time. 

- 24/7 Interest Value Flooding
Contemporary simulcasted multi-modal 24/7-365 communication means can also have an inverse effect, contaminate someone's interest in something - and at some point in anything. One problem with large amount of readers can be to deinterest you in what interests you. Typically it has to do with repeating the same information too often. Older writer often shutdown inputs from readers in order to maintain a form of motivation towards their body of work.  There is something different between the musical sheets of Chopin and the "twitter" feeds from a teenager down the street.

My Beer Glass is Flat
That expression doesn't mean it is flat at the molecular level (it might still be agitated if viewed under a microscope). It means it's flat at the perceptual level that matters to the experience of drinking beer. It means something like I don't see and feel bubbles, part of the process of tasting beer. Also, the beer is flat is "reality". It's what matters, so it's what is real. A lot of contemporary science is about expanding the level of application of an idea to a place where a particular fact does not hold anymore. That molecules exist was an hypothesis in the 1900's and eventually was experimentally confirmed in replicable procedures, transforming the hypothesis into scientific "fact". Reality is still that the beer is flat. We can manipulate the food at the molecular level (molecular gastronomy) yet it only matters if the taste or the nutritional content is altered by the refinement.  So what science provides is a way to form a theory that will allow us to exploit technologically, maybe to engineer a beer that won't become flat as fast under the usual causal chain of events that make a beer flat.  So perhaps one alters the beer gravity to create a beer with a different falloff behavior when exposed to air... This change the narration from if you leave a beer bottle opened for 1 to 2 hours it will not be flat anymore, it might now take 4 hours. Such simple variations then somehow create market options shift, suddenly in this case it might make sense to make larger beer bottles. But it might also not create a new market opportunity. It could be that at some point if the beer bottle is too big then you cannot move it around, drink out of it.  For example it might be in 2010 that 90% of data moved around is video. Yet at some point there is a fundamental growth limit, mainly how many hours can we watch video? At some point, all we are doing of shifting viewing channels not creating new eyeballs market.

Ideas are macro-biologic phenomenas that one can't really explain at the neuronal activity level. Looking at the brain, the biological object -- one could maybe see "thinking", see a "type of thinking" and by associating emotional read-outs perhaps derive an idea if one is actually lying - yet one cannot see a particular thought per se.  (define thoughts versus ideas)

If only I removed this and that it would be easier to read and comprehend. Dis/unordered streams of content are akin to driving in the fog... is the car in front of me driving real slow or am I in a traffic jam? The micro-details analysis might reveal nothing useful at the level of analysis that matters, the information we are seeking to perform action, respond.

One issue with digital physics (and perhaps quantum mechanics) is that it explains nothing. In the end you need a total universe model (know all the universe at all time)  to explain anything. The docuverse on the other end is different. It is comprehensive, and it is so because it's reductionism is to ignore micro-causal events that add nothing to the explanation. You think I am funny or not, but really that has nothing to do with cells and proteins I am made of right now. Sure there is a big cluster of molecules that writes this up... yet he (molecule cluster) is only in the docuverse by reference. And that does not make it a fiction.  In a way there is no such thing as causality in the docuverse, ALL is completely encoded as version history and the chronology cannot be broken. The Docuverse does not need to account for what happens outside of it, which is what makes it possible and useful. Whether there is a content update every 1/100000 second or every year has no internal effect, it does not care about physical time. Physical time does not affect the docuverse.

If we rewrote the current version of the Book to further abstract out the human dimension, could the Book be exploited by digital physics?  By abstracting out we mean things like it's no longer something with a pair of eyeballs reading this but a scanner, so there is no more requirement for a definition of presentation efficiency  (e.g 60-80 characters per line) as part of the core Book and the modeling of the Reader as a Human is inherited from a base abstraction, and under a great rewrite the Biological human could be a separate volume that acts as an interface to the core Book.

One think we discussed elsewhere is there is an implicit agency in the Book. As it accumulates layers of details (larger mass of content), the Book to succeed tend towards closure yet is sensitive to external events in the Docuverse. It somehow needs to continuously adapt what it is made of to remain pertinent while remain coherent, specific, about something. One thought experience to understand the difficulty in isolating a volume ( a slice of knowledge) from the docuverse is the following:  Imagine we were to ship the Book to a distant planet. Imagine finding this volume on a distant planet... or even on this one 10 000 years ago. First you might say that you need to send a dictionary as well. You might think that you can limit that to only the lexicon used in the Book, yet as the vocabulary expands since words use other words to analogically describe themselves, you soon need most of the dictionary. As you push the idea you soon realized that what is encoded in the Book cannot be separated from the Docuverse. You can however probably send an abstract that reference other parts of the Docuverse without containing all of it. In a way a large part of our cultural production disappears in oblivion, a poem you wrote at age 10 might never be re-read for eternity.

- Compressing the Docuverse
Once you unfold the docuverse as a linear string of events (inserts/edits at discrete jumps, each creating a time tick), the next question becomes how you do you archive that, how do you compress that, how do you prune that? A classical document versioning technique is to store the difference to a previous version. Locally each event in the docuverse is simply a chain of "edit PageId.ParagraphId - "insert content".  Pruning in this context is something like talking a volume and creating an authorial decision to "freeze" a version of the whole volume as a new version. This essentially groups a set of edits as one and both permit to navigate in much larger time increments, as well as remove the need to restart at the docuverse time-origin to reconstruct a particular version of a volume.

The Book has no desire per se. One cannot say the "goal of this Book is". One could however say the goal of this author (the will) is to "*". Then people role-playing "author of this book" -- writing in it have a way to form consensus around such guidelines -- so it remains a Book rather then loose leaves blowing in the wind.
     What about interaction, feedback loops?  Can't some intentions be encoded in such a manner that we can start thinking in a teleological way (goal-directed)? The practical issue is easy to see here. Once we permit even hyperlinks and special meanings in the form of tokens (e.g ) to be part of the Book, we certainly have a richer language. We then add scripting, and then permit to load dynamically some libraries, etc. As we intensify dynamism and intensify procedural constraints on the content evolution we face archivability issues, much like software development release cycles. (how a document created in a version does not work in another version).

Where the Digital Docuverse starts?
To have a physical universe time-stamp to time-origin the digital docuverse we arbitrarily used may 10, 1961 as the time-origin to the Digital Docuverse, at least for the first draft version. Some background reasons initially follows:
      1961 clearly means an era where sheets of papers existed. In 1961 the metaphor of file folders and cabinets is very much clear. [2009, I recently visited the Yale Sterling library, the reference card cabinets are still there, they are nice object that nicely fit the architecture, decorate the place, yet they are empty - so 2009 is clearly already a time where such is gone, a freshman will never acquire first degree experience of a physical reference card catalogue]. It's also clearly media wise a non-integrated era, yet computer and reprography are known ideas even if not used by the general public directly. Xerography during the 1960's progressively replaced copies made by Verifax, Photostat, carbon paper, mimeograph machines, and other duplicating machines -- much like the personal computer introduced in the late 1970's progressively marked the elimination of the typewriter. Any particular date could be as arbitrary as that one. For now it seems by today standards (2009) that we have in 1961 the means to implement the scissors, paper and glue version of this project. The version of this project that is not yet practicle, but theorically (on paper) achievable. We describe elsewhere the implementation difficulty of viewing life as a large never ending set of loose leaves in binders where each time you edit a Page, you have to copy it to a new Page at the end of the Binder and add a Page number...

     At this point (at about 64% of the period this Book presents as the transition era), it seems it makes no sense to argue if it's 1961 or 1959 or 1967? It's probably not something we can actually even tag based on a single catalystic event. That on 12 April 1961, Gagarin became the first man to travel into space, launching to orbit aboard the Vostok 3KA-3 (Vostok 1) is certainly an historical landmark for human kind, but it does not seem to represent a singular point in time where it's clearly before and after.   All we know for now is we are within an era which like the industrial era before (that now history chronicles as a period from the 18th to the early 19th century. The exact start and end dates of eras tend to be not specific, one can say the personal computer was introduced in 1978 and consider such a pivot year, while another could place the starting point at people born after world war II...

[ Hofstadter discusses at length how the idea that a whole book can be writen about a single proof, Godel's Proof, fascinated and influenced his thought process as a teenager before he formed any understanding of Godel's proof itself. The important foundational idea for him is that a book can be writen about a mathematical proof, not that that particular proof says]

That said, it is probably possible for someone (someone else with more focused interest on history of media) to document the technology of writing and reproject it from 1961-- walk back the stream of history -- to qualify the degeneration of the difficulty to implement the Book project in practice. The evolutionary futurological model we use is to define a quantifyable accomplishment in some feature (that we still locate around 2037) and from there do a reverse history that passes through the present. Such reverse history model we could say force compatibility with the past. We also know that intergenerational memory is short, that in 2009 russian kids have no idea what CCCP means or that their US counterpart know nothing about the role of Ronald Reagan and the fall of the Berlin wall. So it's probably safe to say that all the "media data" industry artifacts of 1961 will be completely gone from first hand experience in 2037 (except perhaps as a museum treasure) except for some of the arbitrary they caused which might remain. We might still use Qwerty keyboards.