Look Ma! No Hierarchy!


by: Quinn Comendant


Information moves too quick for ink. This book became outdated upon publication and quickly became a historical snapshot more than a current analysis. Information moves too quick for Humans. Understanding "china policy" requires acknowledging the 9,290 articles that Google News has available for the past 3.8 days. Is it possible then that computers might be more apt to grasp the contents of our contemporary existence? Or that information itself is self-organizing, or even possibly self-aware? The following is an introduction to DCF's plans to extract intelligence from information.

For the 1745 Encyclopédie Denis Diderot developed the figurative system of human knowledge, a hierarchical taxonomy representing the structure of knowledge itself. Serendipitously, the infinite universe fit cleanly into human-defined slots. Nature had meaning, however slight. This systematic encyclopedia was greatly successful in providing access to human knowledge, upsetting the Church, and in playing an important role in the intellectual ferment leading to the French Revolution. The taxonomy worked, and in the hundreds of years since has broadly influenced our mode of understanding and communicating. Taxonomies cannot be avoided in the process of human understanding. Our base means of perception are defined by systematic filters. And yet the impossibility of perceiving objective reality makes any defined classification presumptuous and even manipulative of the interpretation of reality.

Dynamic reality is the cutting edge of experience. It's the two-dimensional surface catching bugs at the front of the train of knowledge. The boxcars of the train contain the collective memory of where that leading edge has been, in other words the sum of all human knowledge. Staying on that leading edge will require shedding the paradigms and taxonomies of old knowledge and instead allowing dynamic taxonomies to form automatically from the direct experience of information.

Therein lies the necessity for dynamism in research and publishing. Information is generated at blinding speeds, filling vast repositories with stale data, none of it bringing us closer to reality. Tools are needed that keep us close to the sources of information without drowning us in it.

Any discourse on the modernity of China offers a dizzying wash of statistics. These facts alone do not constitute any whole conclusions without the glue of interpretation. Our book coalesced from this bog. However it is a fixed media with one set interpretation. From here it goes on bookshelves and into history. But the world continues and in order to remain useful our interpretation must be continuously revised.

Owned by Quinn Comendant / Added by Stephanie Yao / 16.7 years ago / 24919 hits / 1 hour view time


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