Anesthetic Representation

Anesthetic Representation – To understand the symbol grounding problem, it may be helpful to focus on the fact that computer program does not require a screen to run. In fact, a computer does not need to use graphic displays or even geometry to operate ‘as if’ those forms were present. This need not get into any esoteric philosophical discussion about consciousness, it is simply a fact that Turing emulations of geometric forms are not themselves geometric, they are shapeless configurations of binary code which can be expressed as musical notes or electrical signals just as easily as they can be screen drawings of shapes. If that were not the case, there would be no need for screens or sound cards as we could directly tap into the inherent aesthetic qualities of the data. The anesthetic property of data is, of course, the great strength  of digital computation. This universal code, under Church-Turing thesis, allows any measurable data to be computed in the same (anesthetic, generic, universal) way. This anesthetic property is also the greatest weakness of digital, as it strips out all proprietary anchoring, and we will forever be chasing more secure authentication and control over intellectual property. Because only aesthetic presence can be ‘real’, all representations must borrow from an existing aesthetic modality (like sight or sound) to be presented. Representations are, therefore, not independent entities or experiences, they figures of common sense. Binary representations are figures of Absolutely common sense.

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