Re: virus: Rationality

Tony Hindle (
Tue, 18 Mar 1997 18:21:01 +0000

In message <>, Martz
<> writes
>On Wed, 12 Mar 1997, Tony Hindle <> wrote:
>>>>In this context I suppose a zero distance
>>>>device would be a text copier, at least it would be zero distance
>>>>for the text if it had perfect protocol for that text (easily done
>>>It is??? Do tell.
>> I think I was refering to text that is coded
>>unambiguously like when transfering between two machines
>This is a far from perfect mechanism. It's only by virtue of multi-
>layered error trapping / correcting protocols that we keep the noticable
>effects to a minimum. If you can afford the overhead you can eliminate
>the errors *almost* completely. But perfect? No, I'm afraid not.
>>, this
>>is a not very interesting form of comunication, in fact it's
>>just the "sending" part of your 3 point theory I think.
>It's all 3 points. Each machine forms an end and the cable the medium.
Ok now I think I can see where we are differing. There are two
different forms of errors I think we can distinguish. One form would
occur even on a (hypothetically) perfect transmission link. Errors of
this type are inevitable because no two of us have perfectly compatible
memetic programming. Lets call these errors "semantic displacements" in
keeping with our earlier protocol.
The second type of errors occur after the meme has been
expressed outside the mind during the mechanical/electronic
encoding/transmission processes. These errors would occur even between
two (hypotheticaly) perfect memetic programs. They are more like noise
being added to the system in the communication link. If we had two
perfectly compatible memetic programs a tiny amount of noise (one
charecter being replaced by another, from a different alphabet) would be
parsed and would cause no movement in semantic space.
As an example consider our exchanges here. We undoubtably have
many semantic displacements of our ideas because of mutually
incompatible memetic software but thus far the electronic channel has
added nothing/very little more to these errors.
There is a grey area here and I think considering it might allow
you to see a little better what I am trying to say. Suppose I write to
you this following short message
"Man's life is solitary, brutal and short."
You will decode it according to your memetic software and get some
semantic displacement. If however the intervening electronic media
causes 2 errors to occur, one at charector 7 and one at charector 33
"Man's Wife is solitary, brutal amd short."
The error at charector 33 is easily parsed but an "unlucky fluke error"
at charector 7 will cause a massive semantic displacement.

>> Far more interesting is when two or more of us try to
>>comunicate. Ambiguity of meaning is rife because we all run a
>>unique memetic software program in our heads and not two
>>programs are completely compatible.
>Sounds like my PC on a bad day.
That reminds me, I found this somewhere, I think you might find
it amusing...
> Last year a friend of mine upgraded GirlFriend 6.0 to Wife
> 1.0 and found that it's a memory hog leaving very little
> system resources for other applications. He is only now
> noticing that Wife 1.0 also is spawning Child-Processes
> which are further consuming valuable resources.
> No mention of this particular phenomena was included in the
> product brochure or the documentation, though other users
> have informed him that this is to be expected due to the
> nature of the application. Not only that, Wife 1.0
> installs itself such that it is always launched at system
> initialization where it can monitor all other system
> activity. He's finding that some applications such a
> PokerNight 10.3, BeerBash 2.5, and PubNight 7.0 are no
> longer able to run, crashing the system when selected (even
> though they always worked fine before). At installation,
> Wife 1.0 automatically installs undesired Plug-Ins such as
> MotherInLaw 55.8 and BrotherInLaw Beta release. As a
> consequence system performance seems to diminish with each
> passing day.
> Some features he'd like to see in the upcoming wife 2.0:
> - A "Don't remind me again" button
> - Minimize button
> - An install shield feature that allows Wife 2.0 to be
> installed with the option to uninstall at anytime without
> the loss of cache and other system resources.
> - An option to run the network driver in promiscuous mode
> which would allow the systems hardware probe feature to
> have greater use.
> I myself decided to avoid all of the headaches associated
> with Wife 1.0 by sticking with Girlfriend 2.0. Even here,
> however, I found many problems. Apparently you cannot
> install Girlfriend 2.0 on top of Girlfriend 1.0. You
> must uninstall Girlfriend 1.0 first. Other users say this is
> a long standing bug which I should have been aware of.
> Apparently the versions of Girlfriend have conflicts over
> shared use of the I/O port. You think they would have fixed
> such a stupid bug by now. To make matters worse, The
> uninstall program for Girlfriend 1.0 doesn't work very well
> leaving undesirable traces of the application in the system.
> Another annoying problem -- all versions of Girlfriend
> continually popup annoying messges about the advantages of
> upgrading to Wife 1.0
> ***** BUG WARNING ********
> Wife 1.0 has an undocumented bug. If you try to install
> Mistress 1.1 before uninstalling Wife 1.0, Wife 1.0 will
> delete MSMoney files before executing self - uninstallation.
> Then Mistress 1.1 will refuse to install, claiming
> insufficient system resources.
> *** BUG WORK-AROUNDS ***************
> To avoid the above bug, try installing Mistress 1.1 on a
> different system and never run any file transfer
> applications such as Laplink 6.0. Also, beware of similar
> shareware applications that have been known to carry viruses
> that may affect Wife 1.0.
> Another solution would be to run Mistress 1.0 via a UseNet
> provider under an anonymous name. Here again, beware of the
> viruses which can accidently be downloaded from the UseNet.

Good eh??????

>When you consider that we're all huge neural nets which have been taught
>by fairly similar experiences then it's not so surprising that we can
>*seem* to reach understanding when we put our nets to it.
BTW neural nets are a new form of machines that can actually
make semantic displacements as will have already occured to you I should

>I've already decided that I'll be reading it but what with a full-time
>job, two courses, trying to get a business off the ground, a new house
>to decorate and of course CoV, time is a precious commodity at the
Time is always a precious comodity. What courses? what business?
(sorry if it's none of mine:).
>>>But we can never prove perfect understanding to be true, we can only
>>>prove it false. So even if we get there we won't know for sure.
>> True. but I believe we can know for sure that our
>>understanding has improved from what it once was. Strange as
>>this may sound I believe in closer and closer aproximations to
>>the truth.
>Again, I broadly agree with what you're saying but I really don't think
>we can know for sure.

>Let me know if you've got any gigs lined up around London. North of the
>river and east of the city please? ;)
West of the river (as you corrected later - beware spelling
mistakes, the girls are watching you may be banned from eternal bliss.
If Eva is still elimenating all those who make 3 spelling mistakes per
paragraph I am definately out. You may still be in luck though... I wish
you all the best fuck with Eva.)

Here's a couple pending
Alternative trainspotters
Rat & Carrott
606, lordship lane
sunday 23rd (see time out for details)

Adam n Eve
830 Uxbridge rd
thur 3rd april.

Ok I gotta dash. Peace.
Tony Hindle.
I found this message in a bottle....
I suppose I really feel `every man is an island,' and that we're all
lobbing badly worded messages in fragile bottles into the sea, hoping
our knowledge of a language we just learned, the fragility of the
paper, and the motion of nearby currents will take the message to the
people we want and that they'll be lucky enough to read it as we
intended. Perhaps a bit depressing, but I read Lovecraft as a
child. :) ....Alex williams