Evolution And The Tipping Point Of Chaos Dependence
As far back into history as I can observe, chaos has been the driving factor for evolution. Chaos chose traits at random, some worked and some didn't, and the ones that worked survived. Wash, rinse, repeat. And here we are today. This is all changing. Humans appeared and suddenly there was no longer a need to depend on chaos plus time to shake out optimal solutions. What changed? Something called, drumroll, imagination. Humans could suddenly build up a minimalistic representation of the world around them and try out lots of different things in a very short period of time using very few resources in the attempt. Once a solution exists, the process can be repeated and the solution refined. This greatly lessened the need for chaos driven improvements. The best part is, we've barely scratched the surface.
So much of what we do today is based on techniques that were developed mostly still depending on chaos and time. What would happen if we revisited naively constructed systems and optimized them? Two things:
- The generation after us will thank us dearly.
- It's going to be a LOT of work.
But it's going to be fun! Because we're making everything BETTER, and quantifiably so. Where do we start? All the way at the bottom. Optimizing written language would be tremendously beneficial on many, many levels. To do so, we would also need to optimize spoken language. We would have to break it down into its most very basic components, add missing pieces, rearrange them, and piece them all back together. While we're at it, we need to be thinking about how to make it future-proof, how to allow it to evolve, and how to split off domain specific languages.
Most of the time, once something is "good enough", people tend to stop improving their technique and just use it as it is. This is fine for a lot of things; specifically short term things. This is not optimal at all for the long term. For example, I would like to draw your attention to standards (e.g. empirical measure). My favorite example to use here is the qwerty keyboard layout. Believe it or not, if you ripped off all of the letter keys on your standard qwerty keyboard, put them in a bag, shook them up, and put them all back on at random, it is statistically likely to be better than qwerty. Initially, it was intended to speed up the typist. The goal was to prevent keys from sticking on typewriters when two letters were typed too quickly in succession. Which is hilariously irrelevant today. But it is the standard, and people will keep using it for the foreseeable future. Interestingly, keyboard layouts for languages which do not use the same alphabet as English ended up being optimized, such as Japanese and Russian.