Tuesday, September 23, 2008


By Kevin Kelly,

Technology is a type of thinking. ... However what technology ultimately offers is far greater that some more bad and some more good. In the sum it offers increased possibilities and choices. And this is why we gravitate to it so.

Technology is a type of thinking. So may Thinking Space be renamed as "Technology Space"? Sounds not bad, isn't it?

In fact, technology is a type of productive thinking. An essence of technology is to produce. Good or bad, technology produces. More production eventually leads to more choices and then more possibilities, which is thus the beauty.


gregory said...

for me, technology is the materialization of thinking ..

and thinking is the manifestation of pure mind ..

and pure mind is the manifestation of consciousness ..

and there is nothing in technology that the mind cannot already do ..

esp = telephone
omniscience = google, internet
interconnectedness = nature, and mind
intuition = twitter, imindi

i mean to emphasize the correlation of mind and technology, not the argument of which does things better ...

and the english word "wisdom", we don't have that in tech

Yihong Ding said...

thank you, gergory.

Technology itself must not embody wisdom. What technology does embody is knowledge. The difference between wisdom and knowledge is thus the distinction between human and machine.


gregory said...

and what is information, the buildng blocks of knowledge?

these areas are becoming important to define ... consciousness, awareness, knowledge, information ..

english is not very useful for this ... sanskrit is much better ... i don't know about chinese languages, but they must be good too, just because daoists and other traditions have worked on the mind for centuries ...

any opinion?

Yihong Ding said...

English language is more precise on definition than Chinese. Chinese people used to intentionally make definition be vague so that it become more flexible in meaning. As the result, Chinese are more adoptive to outside knowledge while western people are more precise on scientific research. Even till now, you still can see that Chinese have incredible ability to learn and catch up, while western countries still lead on invention.

About your question, I think information might be the building blocks of technology as it is the build blocks of knowledge. To the end, technology (or knowledge) is varied combination of information.

However, here is an important point! As I have discussed in my review of "Programming the Universe", information has an incredible character of self-computing. Due to this character, a new combination of information is fundamentally different to a new combination of mass or energy. A new combination of information "produces" new information that has never existed before the combination. This is thus called "creation"!

Amazing world!


gregory said...

great enthusiams!

a quote from gregory bateson ... information is any difference which makes a difference ...

and about chinese ... my personal prediction is that the breakthroughs in the semantic web will come from china ... and be structured in the chinese language?

why? because chinese seems to have more layers of meaning, more subtlety, more levels, and the more flexibility that you mention, and offers more places for machine readability to enter in and establish connections ...

in other words chinese can be more like the mind, than english, with more possibilty and depth.

do you agree?

and kinds will be rapidly learning chinese in school, so that they can play in the new game..

yes? no?


Yihong Ding said...

maybe you are right. Chinese is more adoptive to new ideas. It is possible that the dream of Semantic Web is realized in the Chinese world earlier than the western world.

Chinese thinking is more close to real mind thinking in our brain, i agree. Western style thinking is too mechanical and unnatural. But either side has it strengths and weaknesses.

About language learning, however, many kids think Chinese is much harder than English, for example, my daughter is one of them. ;-)


Lian's blog said...

道可道非常道,名可名非常名. I don't know how to translate it into English. Yihong, please help me...

I always think this saying fools people if you think the conclusion deeply... :) Yeah, that what they did: threw you a conclusion without any explanation, or the explanation was kind of weak.

Laozi did not care too much about the logic, neither Kongzi. They paid more attention on... for example, if the sentence is beautiful enough to attract people or something like that.

However, Chinese is really good to present anything clearly if you want it to. I am not a NLP expert, but I have an example:

Korean people tried to remove all of Chinese characters from their books, you know, for history reason, they used Chinese as their national language for a long time... Whatever, finally they failed. They still use Chinese in all their law books, (no offense) since without Chinese their own language can not present the law concepts clearly.

So I believe Chinese can be used to describe/define anything (of course we need to borrow some words from English for the new concepts or new words). The reason Chinese is vague in some cases is because the way people use it.

Yihong Ding said...


great to watch your comments and chat with you. Here is the translation of your quoted phrase.


"The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name."

The translation was done by J. Legge at 1891.


gregory said...

i LOVE the tao, it is such a high-consciousness understanding .. and powerful ...

(no wonder governments destroy monasteries and imprison falun gong, spiritual power can be greater than government power.)

much of neuroscience research would go a lot faster if the scientists knew about the tao, from the inside out ... and a LOT faster if they would practice meditation ...

i am seeing neuroscience as governed by fundamentalist, sort of like religious fundamentalists ... and they have no idea that consciousness has subtle levels ..

ok ...

enjoy ...