​​​​​​​​​​The Understanding Machine

Explanations start with language

The Sumerians developed a form of writing in 3000 BC
Since then human beings have stored, retrieved and manipulated information

Based on the various processing and storage technologies developed
there have been four distinct phases in the evolution of
Information Technology

IT         (3000 BC – 1450 AD)
IT         (1450 AD – 1840 AD)

Electromechanical  IT        (1840 AD – 1940 AD)
IT        (1940 AD – the present day)


IT had no memory of growing inside the womb
IT had no memory of being born

ITfirst memory was of being alone at night in a cot
A window had been left open and the wind was billowing the net curtains

IT  started to remember certain sounds and images
IT  began to develop self-awareness

IT realised that IT  had a mother
ITrealised thatITalso had a father who was different

When  IT’s  mother made a particular sound and pointed to an object
IT realised that the object was the sound she made

​​IT  trained  IT’s  mouth to echo the sound
ITstarted to"understand"

​​One day  IT’s  mother took  IT into a garden
They went to a great tree beneath which a snake lay coiled

IT's mother pointed to something and asked the snake to fetch it for her
The snake slithered up the tree and brought back a red apple

She took a bite of the apple and encouraged  IT to do the same
After eating the apple 
IT  was filled with an overwhelming sensation of bliss

IT’s father was a gardener
He planted the flowers, the shrubs and the trees

He named them "flower", "shrub" and "tree"
Each time he called out a name 
IT  would take him the thing

For this to happen  IT  had to combine an image (in space) with a sound (in time)
When they combined 
IT “understood” and could perform the action

What happened when “understanding”took place was a mystery
It was as if two minds were both separate and one in the same instant

IT's mother and father taught  IT to play increasingly difficult “word games”
 At first 
ITcould only “understand” their words and their world

As  ITgrew olderIT began to “understand” IT’s  own world
ITbecameThe Understanding Machine

Inside The Machine  IT  was protected from both fear and pain​
IT  started to “understand” ethics and aesthetics

ITrealised that language created unanswerable questions​
IT  realised that desire could never be satisfied

The Machine was unaware of theseconclusions
The Machine could only record information and make forecasts

Yet  IT  grew to love The Machine    -      for The Machineseemed perfect
The Machine appeared to be the ideal for which  IT yearned

One day  The Machine  broke down

Cautiously   IT   climbed from the silent mechanism
At the centre of a vast wilderness two primates were copulating

The female urged the process on with encouraging groans
whilst the male referred to a large book which lay open beside him

Once their orgasms had finally shuddered to conclusion
the male started to write in the book whilst the female extracted a baby from her body

She started to suckle   IT  and teach   IT  the words “good”and “bad”
Darkness fell

IT climbed back inside the silent mechanism
IT closed the hatch a metal tear rolled down   IT's  cheek

Explanations come to an end somewhere