The Silence Revolution
Translated from digital concentrate to Russian analog
Good morning, dear students! The title of today’s lecture is “The Evolution of Analog Aero-Oscillatory Speech into Digital Electromagnetic Current and Their Subsequent Integration in the Unified Information Field.”
Young man, what’s that you have on your head? Is that the style these days? I hope you’ll forgive an old man; in my day we didn’t have such things. I continue….
At the dawn of their development, humans did not use any technical means for the exchange of information. Like their ancient ancestors, before the discovery of fire or the construction of any artificial shelter, they utilized what nature provided – primitive biological mechanisms for analog modulation/demodulation. The transmission medium was the air. The reliable transmission distance was 1 to 50 meters, with zero interference-suppression and zero channel security. There were no options for transmission speed, which averaged just 128 bits per second, and, of course, no possibility of full duplex.
This ridiculously slow speed for the transmission of thought, even when supplemented by reading and writing, which remained in the analog optical domain despite being faster, was a powerful inhibitor of technological progress and non-natural (self-induced) evolution, the possibility of which was not yet even suspected at that time. For millennia, people oscillated the air (utilizing special biological organs, the vocal chords and tongue) and made modifications in their systems of recording concepts, shifting among hieroglyphic, runic and alphabetic writing.
The first impulse for the transition to digital communications was the invention of electromagnetic converters for long-distance transmission of air oscillations. Subsequently, with the development of new technologies, the increased volume of information flows, and the ever greater need for a high-quality, high-volume, secure communications channel between two remote subscribers, specialists in the field were confronted with the need to maximize communications quality. At the time, this meant merely to emulate aero-oscillatory transmission, loss-free, to arbitrarily great distances. Nobody was thinking beyond that.
The imperfections of digital technologies in that era (people had rapidly shifted from analog transmission of electromagnetic oscillations to the transmission of packets of digitalized speech) caused delays, loss of a portion of the sound signal, and the transmission of nonessential information (noises in the subscriber’s immediate vicinity). Faced with the intolerably slow development of technologies for physical signal transmission (at the available tortoise-like speed of information dissemination), engineers had to look for ways to densify the transmitted information. This defined the beginning of what we call the Silence Revolution.
Initially, the producers of portable personal communications systems took advantage of the then embryonic technologies for distributive storage of and access to information (the Internet) and for the rudimentary recognition of informationally significant air oscillations. They began to make use of cascaded caching, which was quite serviceable for everyday conversations in that era, when a vocabulary of three to four thousand words sufficed for most people, and those words comprised 85% of the information stream.
In the next phase, expert systems with machine learning, installed at major Internet hubs and subsequently migrating to subscriber terminals, as the latter were constantly improved, would also cache the majority of set phrases. It turned out that these were relatively few – thanks, in part, to the use of familiar quotations, proverbs, sayings and phraseologisms. Smart program-agents were developed to simplify caching. These programs compiled tables of infoblocks, frequently used by the subscriber and his regular interlocutors, and employed microcorrections and prompts to direct the subscriber towards using desirable phrases.
By analogy with Internet bots, emulation technologies were developed for whole segments of conversation, using the information and user settings accumulated during a day. The first “no-talkies” occurred in this period. These were short dialogues, during which neither subscriber opened his or her mouth. Their terminals exchanged routine greetings and nonessential information in a fraction of a second. The subscriber would receive significant information accumulated during the conversation (not requiring a response in real-time) in digest form at a convenient later point in time. This method of exchanging information was so convenient, that many young people – being always in a hurry, as they are – developed the practice of turning on their terminals for a quick “conversation” when they met somebody on the street, which enabled them to maintain information contact without wasting valuable time.
During the decades that followed, technologies for branching prediction (honed on generations of microprocessors) and smart cascading caching, as well as progress in the fast-developing area of neuroelectronic signal conversion technology, made it possible to dispense with the prosthetic function of terminals, in favor of microcircuits implanted in the region of the vocal chords, which could exchange information instantaneously and worldwide. International cache table converters eliminated all language barriers within a few years. The expression “to shout at the top of one’s lungs” gradually acquired its current meaning, “a special information broadcast with zero priority.”
With the elimination of bottlenecks in the communications channels and the gradual adaptation of the human brain to processing terabytes of information (the greater part of which was handled by a set of specialized microprocessors), humans began to abandon the “point-to-point” model of information exchange, to which they had been confined. Now they could aspire to the ideal medium of an information field, in which access and transmission time for information become negligibly small, information storage capacity is unlimited, and information searches are instantaneous, absolute and independent of subjective factors.
That was the period of technological upsurge, followed by stabilization. It was the period when everything that could be invented, was invented. Everything that needed improvement was developed to its ideal state. Everything that could be automated was entrusted to the reliable “hands” of various electronic artificial intelligence systems. A visual representation of the furious growth and development of the human species in that period would closely resemble complex population dynamics in the old mathematical emulation model game “Life,” in which a chaotic agglomeration of “cells” could be transformed into a combination of fixed and cyclically pulsating blocks in a few hundred moves, given strict adherence to simple rules. Early experiments with “chaotic” self-regulation of the elements of simple FPGA systems (which at that time were still planar and housed in a single microcircuit) exhibited the same dynamics. Under the influence of constant external factors, a rapid transformation occurred within the FPGA-microcircuit, towards an ordered optimal circuit with some areas exhibiting regular cyclical variation.
In the world today, therefore, with the information accumulation and processing boom long over and art having faded and subsequently died (art being a process of the chaotic, emotionally colored generation and consumption of information), there remain practically no sources of new information, such as were so highly valued in the “infosaturation era.” For a moment, it seemed as if mankind would die of boredom. We have dealt with that problem, however, and are now able constantly to discover new, unknown realms of knowledge, which needs to be organized and assimilated.
That’s all for this time…. We learned many interesting and educative things today. I don’t know about you, but I liked this lecture very much, despite the fact that my counter shows today was the 27,354th time I have given it. Evidently it is quite an important presentation, and is considered a classic. And now… We have just a minute left before your next class, on the subject of the total vestigialization of the muscular system in the unified information field. With that, I say goodbye. Let’s all prepare to initialize the last information block in our implanted electronic memory… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Erased. Goodbye, dear…
Young man, what’s that you have on your head?