How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet

Here’s a fun essay from Douglas Adams: How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet. He says that attitudes toward technology go like this:

  1. everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;
  2. anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;
  3. anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.


Recently I read about Intuitionism and I can tell you unreservedly that I do not believe in it. I believe that objective things can exist independent of human minds and the most salient example I could give is in your computers. In your computer you can calculate 1 + 1 = 2 and you can do so quite independently of a human mind. 1 + 1 = 2 is an objective truth which can easily be modelled in a machine. Certainly mathematics can *also* be the result of constructive mental activity in human minds, but it is not limited to that. Also it might be interesting to note that machines will be able to find objective mathematical truths which are beyond the capacity of a human mind alone, in fact I’m quite sure that will have been done already (if you can think of an example feel free to let me know!).


A fun talk on Postmodernism.

Gary Aylesworth defines postmodernism as:

a set of critical, strategic and rhetorical practices employing concepts such as difference, repetition, the trace, the simulacrum, and hyperreality to destabilise other concepts such as presence, identity, historical progress, epistemic certainty, and the univocity of meaning.

I had automatic subtitles on while watching the video and it figured “differentiate” as “French cheese”. Poetic, I’m sure. Cop that Derrida! Cop that Foucault!

In the video the lecturer presents a slide which makes the claim “thought and language can’t distinguish two worlds that have exactly the same structure–exactly the same logical form.” But that is a patently false claim in my view. Take for instance the integers and the rationals, they are distinguished but we can build an isomorphism that shows they have the same form.

Later this statement is made: “we could know the necessary and sufficient stimulatory conditions of every possible act of utterance, in a foreign language, and still not know how to determine what objects the speakers of that language believe in.” This is true, but it’s also true of all people who speak the “same” language, too.

Then it is said “there is no fact of the matter about which translation is right”, but that’s not true. There is a fact of the matter about substance. Some machines can work and others can’t owing to the specific nature of what substance can do and how it works. Of course we can’t truly know substance as we only have objective access to it.