[e2e] [SPAM] Re: a means to an end

Joe Touch touch at ISI.EDU
Thu Nov 13 10:40:43 PST 2008

Hash: SHA1

David P. Reed wrote:
> Computation (measurement) doesn't necessarily have a single location
> either.

You've made that argument repeatedly, as I have made the point that
having a location doesn't mean having a single point location.

> Your brain happily functions without a tiny homunculus that
> makes the final decision.   A computer can make a decision without
> representing the output of the decision in one place. 

As can a tree fall in the forest without anyone to hear it. However,
decisions that are hidden from the rest of the world are irrelevant; at
some point, the brain components need to coordinate a decision (as do
computer components), and the output is represented in a set of locations.

There's no such thing as computation - or information - that has *no*

> A flock of geese
> maneuvers (and hence makes decisions) without there ever being a
> "command goose". 

That's not quite correct; the lead goose is the one that others track in
general (by feeling air currents); follower geese can initiate actions
from their place backward, and the rest of the group will react when
visual or auditory cues indicate (e.g., gunshots, trees falling in the
forest, etc.).

> And a slime mold "decides" to turn from slime to a
> stalk to a vermiform without a single decision maker.

Emergent behavior is fine, but it's still coordinated either by
chemical, mechanical, etc. means.

However, as others have noted, we've strayed far afield of the original
issue - that information has a location (even if not a *point*), as I
asserted originally. If you have a counterexample - i.e., information
that has *no* location, please provide it. Examples for which the
location is spread out, but for which a location exist, do not disprove
my assertion.

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