Sunday, March 30, 2008

More Thinking about Information

Herbert Hrachovec engages in some interesting reflections on information and other topics concerning the relationship of philosophy and electronic media that are worth careful consideration.

In his article on "Irreconcilable Similarities: Man and Semantic Machines" (which is in English) he argues that "A highly suggestive current account of intelligence regards it as something that in principle can be generated by 'semantic machines.' Treating certain systems (computers, brains) as mechanisms working towards potentially meaningful results by purely formal procedures has proved to be a fruitful research program. Think of a jigsaw puzzle. The shape of its pieces contains no information about the content of the representation that has to be retrieved. Finding out how the pieces fit together is a syntactic activity that can be performed according to formal principles. All those pieces just fit together in the end; but, remarkably enough, a picture of something has been assembled by this process. Evidently it is possible, by appropriate construction, to integrate formal procedures and the more complex relationships between signs and their interpretation. A puzzle illustrates semantic machines insofar as it leads to representation of reality in the absence of any prior semantic information."

The article can be found here: Irreconcilable Similarities. Admittedly, it is rather remotely related to note-taking.

Warning: You need to know German to read the articles on his Website.

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