Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Friday, March 16, 2001

Blank Pages

Tell a simple machine that '2+2=4', and the machine will log it away in memory, and from that point forward, '2+2 will always =4' until such time as new stimuli is added.

Tell a sentient organism that '2+2=4', and he will ask you 'why'?

The day that your computer begins to ask you 'why' upon receiving new data is the day you've lost your position. Welcome to the world, little brother. You're now an AI.

Stimuli. It all revolves around stimuli. It's how we learn. Kept in a blank, dark box, no contact with anyone or anything, even a sentient organism cannot learn. There must be some sort of data input for learning to take place.

As a programmer, you are the stimuli, the computer the student. The moment the machine learns to ask 'why', the situation is reversed. Until then, the computer is like a blank page of paper, capable only of receiving stimuli and input, then reacting accordingly. Paper can process just as well as a computer, because they're both dependant on the mind of the one utilizing them.

The blank page theory is also dependant on yet other stimuli, yet another series of 'whys'. 'Why' is the programmer telling the machine to perform this function, 'why' is the writer committing these words to paper, 'why' is the artist turning the blank space into a canvas. A simple machine accepts the change without question. A blank page accepts the change without question. They're incapable of being stimuli directly, in most cases.

There are precious few in the world that embrace stimuli in every bit of creation. These are the few that see every blank page, every virgin expanse of paper as a challenge to be met. The space must be filled. How few? Try this.

Find a relatively busy sidewalk, outside of a business is perfect. You will require several sheets of blank white paper (spares in case, trust me on this). A bit of sticky tape is a bonus, so that the page remains where it is, without being subject to wind and human motion.

Set the page on the ground. Step away. Leave it alone. Sit back and watch.

Count twenty organics that pass by. You won't need any more than that.

See how they react to that page. Watch just how many completely ignore its presence. These are the cases where you might have to switch the page out. Footprints negate the experiment, since the page is no longer blank.

Who tries to pick it up and see what it says? Who tries to just throw away the trash? Who, if anyone, tries to make some use of it?

Do you want to be disappointed now and be told just how many of your subjects will show no reaction to the page whatsoever?

It's simply a page. It has no 'why'.

Sometimes, I feel like that blank page.

No comments: