​​​​​​​​​​​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

ITs   first 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
IT realised that   IT  also 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
IT started 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   
IT could only “understand” their words and their world

As   IT grew older  IT  began to “understand”   IT’s   own world
IT  became   The Understanding Machine

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

IT   realised 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 Machine  seemed 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 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