Pierre Levy is interesting and this interview is definitely worth a read, but it awakens the crank in me when I read it (yes, I'm old enough to be a crank now!). Take this, for example: "Universal does neither mean 'out of history' nor 'out of culture'. The notation position system of numbers, including the zero, is universal. The decimal system is (almost) universal. The time zones system is universal. The meridian and parallel systems for geography are universal. The Internet Protocol and the HyperText Transfer Protocol are universal. However, all these symbolic systems have been invented somewhere, sometime."

This got me thinking, what would my life be like if I did not adhere to these "universal" systems. I would 'count', like some cultures, using relative analog measures like distance and volume. I would calculate geo-location like a child, as a direction and distance from home. I would keep time the way my clock does, at a rate of 24 hours and one minute per day. And I already use non-standard HTML. So, maybe these universals aren't so universal at all. And maybe Levy's assertion that "If ideas and concepts are not formalized, it is impossible to compute their semantic relationships automatically" is just false. Only syntax needs formalization. For semantics, 'close enough' is not only OK, it's the way we actually do it.

This got me thinking, what would my life be like if I did not adhere to these "universal" systems. I would 'count', like some cultures, using relative analog measures like distance and volume. I would calculate geo-location like a child, as a direction and distance from home. I would keep time the way my clock does, at a rate of 24 hours and one minute per day. And I already use non-standard HTML. So, maybe these universals aren't so universal at all. And maybe Levy's assertion that "If ideas and concepts are not formalized, it is impossible to compute their semantic relationships automatically" is just false. Only syntax needs formalization. For semantics, 'close enough' is not only OK, it's the way we actually do it.

Today: 0 Total: 20 [Share]

] [