A World of 0’s and 1’s

Recently, we have been discussing the idea of computer code as language and the ramifications that may have for us as humans in the digital age. The movie “Arrival” also dealt with the limitations of language, for those who haven’t yet seen the movie, which I recommend highly, one of the points of the movie is that language forms the way we see the world (brilliantly addressed in Yana Schottenstein’s article “How the Language You Speak Affects Your Worldview”) and basically can determine our relation to the world that we describe and live in. I couldn’t help but take this idea and bring it to the idea of a computer language and wonder; Do people who write code begin to see the world differently because they are using a different language paradigm to describe what they see? Now to be clear, the word Expressive means that it’s easy to write code that’s easy to understand, both for the compiler and for a human reader. That doesn’t address the descriptive quality of the computer language, nor how languages influence and dictates our world view. Verbs must exist as do qualifications, if-then questions, choices, and consequences. Is it possible then that a communication between programmer and computer could describe the world that would be unrecognizable to a non-code literate person? I remember in Carl Sagans, “Cosmos”, Sagan stating that computers could communicate at such a speed as to discuss the entirety of current human knowledge in an instant, and when asked by a human what they were saying could only reply,”Nothing” as they could have no way to explain it to us. Perhaps we may find that not only can we not speak at their speed but we are looking at a completely different world. Not a world of colour and things but a world of 0’s and 1’s.

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