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#thinking-together
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# thinking-together
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Jim Meyer

02/09/2023, 11:34 AM
Code is a weird medium. It can act directly upon the world at scale. The only other "things" that can do that are the fundamental forces of the universe. Code is essentially a kind of Jinn/Genie: Agency in a bottle. Jinn also translates to "beings that are concealed from the senses" [1]. Invisible beings that control our world and battle for our attention. Sounds about right 😁
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abeyer

02/10/2023, 5:11 AM
Is "biology" "code"? Is "life" a "fundamental force of the universe"? What does it mean to "act"? Don't mean to be obtuse, but I'm not sure how to interpret your original statement without some common definitions.
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Jim Meyer

02/10/2023, 6:28 AM
In this context I'm using fundamental force in the scientific meaning: Gravitational, Electromagnetic, Weak, and Strong forces/interactions. They're the reason our universe is dynamic, that it changes. So in that sense, "life" is not a fundamental force, but it springs from them. Code as used here is the text we write in a specific programming language and execute. So it's the narrow definition where it's human technology. To "act" implies an agent that performs an action, with action being the use of energy to achieve a side effect in a system. Is biology code? I'd say it's computational. It's computing the coded instructions defined by DNA. The point I was trying to get across is that programming language code somehow seems to tap into the universe at a very deep, almost fundamental level, and we've essentially let the genie out of the bottle without an understanding of the implications. It's a huge responsibility. It's somehow both exciting and terrifying at the same time to ponder what the future of computing holds. AI being the obvious example.
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dialmove

02/10/2023, 7:31 PM
I'd say "information" is the most abstract way to describe that fundamental force of which you speak, and "code" is one instance of it. DNA contains patterns used to replicate cells, and other complex systems (swarms, ant colonies...) use encoded patterns to create emergent behavior following its instructions, and reacting with its environment according to the defined program. "Code" is one such information system that acts following predefined patterns, and can act independently of any further control and guidance. It differs from other systems in that those patterns are created directly by our minds, as a reflection of our will. The traditional system that behaves this way in stories is Magic. So your comparison to Jinns seems appropriate. 🙂
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Sam Arbesman

02/13/2023, 11:39 AM
Fun! You might also enjoy this piece I wrote awhile back: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/05/the-magic-of-code/478794/
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