In 1985, Allen Newell wrote this following about programming languages and psychology:

Millions for compilers but hardly a penny for understanding human programming language use. Now, programming languages are obviously symmetrical, the computer on one side, the programmer on the other. In an appropriate science of computer languages, one would expect that half the effort would be on the computer side, understanding how to translate the languages into executable form, and half on the human side, understanding how to design languages that are easy or productive to use…. The human and computer parts of programming languages have developed in radical asymmetry.

[Newell, A. and S. K. Card (1985). “The Prospects for Psychological Science in Human-Computer Interaction.” Human-Computer Interaction. 1(3): 209-242].

In 1981, John Backus wrote the following:

While it is perhaps natural and inevitable that languages like Fortran and its successors should have developed out of the concept of the von Neumann computer as they did, the fact that such languages have dominated our thinking for twenty years is unfortunate. It is unfortunate because their long-standing familiarity will make it hard for us to understand and adopt new programming styles which one day will offer far greater intellectual and computational power.

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To see that it is possible, it may be helpful to understand fully homomorphic
encryption in terms of a physical analogy – e.g., a photograph developer’s darkroom.
The developer applies a particular function f to Alice’s film when he develops it – i.e., the
sequence of steps to develop the film. In principle, he does not need to see anything to
apply this procedure, though in practice darkrooms are typically not completely dark. Of
course, this analogy is inadequate in that one may ask: why can’t the developer walk out of
the darkroom and look at the finished product? Imagine that the developer is blind. Then,
one may ask: why can’t someone else look at the finished product? Imagine that everyone
in the world besides Alice is blind

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self driving cars

the only company that could pull off a self driving car is AMD because they specialize in shipping devices without drivers

— plagiarized off 4chan

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the art of computer war programming

todo markov model with sun tzu and tacop

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like its not like the cancer becomes conscious and recognizes that it’s static and decides to smash sedentary culture by moving into the next organ

contrary to what you might expect

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human network of ideas

none of this is really original thought but i think its probably useful for my reference to keep all these things and the associated eponymous laws in one place

the value of a network grows as the square of the number of endpoints because of triangular numbers— metcalfe’s law

but most networks aren’t fully connected, because with human social relationships— dunbar’s number caps the degree at 150

however beyond friendships, which can be thought of as  bidirectional graph links, there are also celebrities manifesting as asymmetries in the in and out degree burgers. this means that informational paths aren’t quite symmetrical because certain nodes are capable of reaching a larger audience in a given path radius.

this leads to a different sense of value for the different nodes, and this establishes different classes

but beyond mere celebrities, which are kind of the extreme end of the asymmetry, there are also nodes which have exceptionally high degrees and others with lower ones, giving the entire network an element of the hub-and-spoke topology, which can route things quite efficiently.

this means that the average path length (bounded by network diameter) between any two nodes can be approximated as log(n)/log(150) which is almost always a rather small number— cf. global village, milgram small world, six degrees of kevin bacon,

however, social network topologies aren’t normally randomly connected, they usually reflect some geographic distribution with a few random links. people are connected at different levels and at different densities through their local neighborhoods, high schools, colleges, jobs, and each can reflect a different spatial scale, town, counties, states, countries, etc. with relatively little knowledge about the structure of global geography, people can exploit these generalities and sparse connections to route information to arbitrary others

but importantly, paths are also attenuated and amplified by the bandwidth of their carriers. messages which travel long distances tend to be smaller because they are bottlenecked by congestion caused by overloaded switches and infrastructural links

but bandwidth is a deeper concept than communication infrastructure because it’s the fundamental difference between written language, speech, video multimedia, holography, gestures, user interfaces and the ultimate goal, which is interacting directly with brains

because the interpretation of the system as a network spans not only the macro scale agglomeration of minds, but also the internal representations within people of thoughts and ideas.

the mind, as a solid block of matter has an extremely high bandwidth connection within itself but then communication with other ideas is blocked by the low bandwidth and asymmetric process of human communication and interaction

note that i’m conflating bandwidth and information density in spite of the fact that they are actually quite meaningfully distinct

in terms of sensory apparati and the associated neural processing capacity, the highest bandwidth is almost certainly visual, followed by audio, then tactile followed by gustatory and olfactory.

information density pertains to a coding scheme for information which is modulated over one of these underlying senses as a carrier. for visual, this means hand gestures as well as the written word. for audio, this means speech as well as sounds.

the last two bits were dealing specifically with ingress, which uses senses, but egress is another half. people can emit auditory signals with voices, and interact with the world by pushing buttons, pulling levers, and waving arms or by changing their physical location by walking around.

vocal cords can carry spoken language as well as simpler grunts. there are some highly structured languages that can be coded in the form of gestures as well, but there are also simpler hand gestures.

just as communication isn’t limited to the space between people, but also the space inside, the targets and senders need not be human, for they can be inanimate or otherwise nonsentient— communicating to a stick or a shovel, or a computer intelligence or lack thereof

what is the point of all of this? basically to say that the value which arises from a network of humans grows not just as the square of n, but also with the bandwidth of the links

so how can you kind of visualize this? i guess you can imagine the average length of paths in the network as a metric which reflects the level of obstruction for the flow of information, kind of like resistance in electrical circuits

if one increases the bandwidth between links, thus bringing people closer together, the network becomes more more valuable by a factor of its average path length.


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one thing worse than a lie

is a lie strung together from truths

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