Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake
jaylake

[miscellaneous] Random lunch break thoughts

jimhines lobs a stinker — He asks if all fiction is fan fic.

And this is what's on my mind right now: One of the chestnuts of freshman philosophy is the question of whether intelligence an emergent property of sufficiently complex systems. In SF, we often posit the answer to be yes.

Is it already happening?

For example, do "market forces" within the financial markets represent a form of intelligence? There's a vast network of financial transactions and instruments which collectively generate trends and events out of individual control. A lot of work has been done on the predictive value of markets. (Note this definition of "intelligence" does not require self-awareness.)

Likewise, we talk about the evolution of languages, and their behavior and trends. Just like biological evolution, there is a casual temptation to look back and see linguistic change having been directed toward a goal. What if they are goal oriented?

Some events in linguistic history are very strange — the Great English Vowel Shift, for example. I could construct a paper tiger argument that says English is an apex predator language which uses the cultures and peoples who speak it to enable its further spread at the expense of other languages. Again, there trends and events outside of individual control.

'Nuff said. I have work to do.
Tags: culture, language, links
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