Abstractions and applications

When I sit down to write it’s not exactly as if I intend to write the unreadable. It’s all these levels of abstraction I can’t ignore anymore. An example:

Physics –> Materials –> Voltage switching –> BIOS –> Operating system –> Application –> These words being written & fine-tuned & sent

(and realize this is leaving out a couple to keep things simple)

But then here I am, just sitting here thinking:

Physics –> Molecular chemistry –> Organic Chemistry –> Biological Chemistry –> Cellular abstractions –> Multicellular abstractions –> Organism –> Sensory BIOS –> Consciousness/attention –> Logical & Linguistic abstractions –> Some words in my head

(again it’s not just simple and linear layers, but a network of interlocking abstractions)

It’s not the layers that are the important parts, but the interfaces between layers. Those interfaces allow for abstractions. Abstractions make applications portable. With the right abstraction, any application ought to be able to run on any layer. Yes, even consciousness (and everything above it) on bare-metal condensed matter physics. If we create the necessary abstractions for human sensory input and communication output — write the BIOS, as it were — we should be able to move right in.

Partially, completely, aggregately.

It can go the other direction as well.

… Consciousness/attention –> Logical & Linguistic abstractions –> Communication –> Organizational behavior –> Societal tissue abstractions –> Social organism –> Social sensory BIOS –> Social organism consciousness/attention –> Social organism logical & linguistic abstractions –> … not a new idea, certainly. Really, it’s at least a couple thousand years old, bare minimum. And it’s such a natural progression.

Any application you can think of — and that’s anything that does anything — can be ported from one level of existence to another by the deliberate design and construction of an abstracted interface layer and careful duplication of inputs and outputs.


January 12, 2010 · by xalieri · Posted in Everything Else  


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