A Philosophy Of Information's Blog

July 14, 2009

A Philosophy Of Information

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I have called my blog the story of Information/Memory (combined) because, for human beings, Information and memory are one and the same thing. It is a vital part of our existence. It is Existence itself. There is nothing else. It is all there is. Certainly, not until information about something has been passed into human memory, is that something really known to exist.

INFORMATION/MEMORY THROUGH THE AGES

The story of information begins with mankind’s first thoughts, slowly with animal like grunts and gesticulation. And then, it advanced rapidly through all the marvellous uses of language in literature, art, music, and drama, with sparks of brilliance and flair, to all the wonders of today; not forgetting also all the extraordinary achievements in science.

But, in the 20th century, the story received a revolutionary jolt. Information was mechanised. With the introduction of computers and electronic communication, INFORMATION acquired TECHNOLOGY. Information became a power that drives and controls us all. It now controls each and every one of us and every single thing we ever say or do. The sheer power of Information/memory over us is awesome!

Computers are in many ways in the image of people. Their processes are like those of our brains and minds, and the “memory” they process corresponds closely to human memory. We have much to learn from comparing and contrasting the programs of computers with the way in which our minds and bodies also work.

THE ORIGIN OF MY BOOK

With these thoughts in mind I wrote my book. The entire text of my book is accessible completely free on the “Information story” website (see below). However to take full advantage of this and the powerful PDF Search and List functions it is advisable to have a nicely printed copy of the book alongside. This is obtainable from any major bookstore or directly from the publisher at the book’s page on Trafford’s website (see below).

At first the main purpose of my book was to extol the virtues of IT and all the blessings which it brings us. However, I also wanted to point out its dangers; such as the vast amounts of information which, with hardly any effort, are produced daily and are literally overwhelming us; the speed of processing and decision making which robs us of valuable second thoughts; the instantaneous calculations which dwarf and harm our mental abilities so that few of us can now add up a simple column of figures; and, not least, the adventures into Virtual Reality which play with our minds and take away Reality. Besides all this, are the issues in Society of supervision, control, surveillance, censorship, populism, anonymity, big brother, officialdom, and threats to democracy. The list is endless.  The SOS (Save Our Species) emblem on the cover of my book is no idle catch phrase!

TO WHOM IS MY BLOG ADDRESSED?

1). In the manner of a somewhat professional in IT, I want to appeal to anyone who has ever worked on computers and communications, or who have ever had a hand in designing Information systems. We need to formulate where computer features compare and contrast with those of human beings. We may learn much which is relevant to our work from today’s new findings in Biology and Neuroscience

2). Very much as a layman, I want to attract the attention of people who are actually working in Biology and Neuroscience, and particularly in relation to new findings on human memory. Methods and techniques used in computing may often give rise to new ideas in their own fields. We now know for instance that in the human brain there is a detailed map of the human body.  This is similar in many ways to the map of a computers parts in its Operating System.  As changes are made, the map needs to be updated. Different fields of activity, as in all walks of life, have much to learn from each other

3). I am aiming at the general public many of whom are now asking themselves deep philosophical questions – the Great Wonder of it All and Why should it be? Who are we – individually so small and insignificant – and yet so important in such a vast and infinite universe? Is there a purpose? Does there have to be a purpose? Since information has so much power over us, should we not ensure that it is handled wisely?

THE RESPONSE TO DATE

Five very good reviews of the book are given on the book’s page in Trafford’s website. The British Computer Society gave the book a top score of 10/10 and in November 2006 and made it their Book of the Month. Kristine Morris of Foreword CLARION Reviews in the United States gave the book a very spirited four star review, and the others are also very encouraging. London University (SOAS) has written a very good notice of my book in its Spring 2009 Alumni newsletter and has also purchased a copy of the book for its library.

My belief in making the whole book freely accessibly over the Internet is that anyone who is seriously interested in the subjects of my book will also wish to have an attractively printed copy of my book alongside. For academics and researchers, in particular, to have the computer version with its associated PDF Search and List function is a perfect combination for following up themes and stimulating new ideas. Appendices A and B in the book were incidentally produced especially with the intention of helping the researcher. “Quotes of the day” selected from some 650 “quotes” which can be found in the book are an added attraction for all.

THE FUTURE

I early welcome all contributions, opinions, and comments, on my blog from any or all interested readers. I promise to engage in discussion with them to best of my abilities. 

Sincerely yours,

Bernard Smith

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