Add to Cart. About Inverted World The city is winched along tracks through a devastated land full of hostile tribes.
Product Details. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Related Articles. Looking for More Great Reads? Download Hi Res. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices. Not that I hate E-books. Not at all. Hell, I was reading books on electronic devices before most of you youngsters even knew that books can come in an E variety. I agree on the paper books, something seems to be missing when reading eBooks, though the Kindle is a LOT better than some of my old readers from before eInk displays and relatively intuitive navigation.
You mentioned my greatest fear. What will I read then? Morghan :.
Yeah, the one great thing about e-readers is that you can put a lot of content in a compact little bit of plastic and silicone that fits in just about every bag. I recently packed up some old books ant put them in the attic to get rid of some clutter and I started putting them in one of those cheep plastic bins.
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May 4, at pm. Liudvikas says:. StDoodle says:. Luke Maciak says:.
Or, to put it in Kantian terms, we do not see the world directly, but mediated and constrained by the conditions of our thought. Overextending analogies between human cognition and computational systems can be misleading, but nonetheless, there is a useful comparison to be made here: In addition to investigating neurobiology, artificial intelligence is one of the foremost tools we have at the moment for decoding the mysteries of consciousness.
Comparisons with AI help us to understand the peculiar limits and functions of human capacities. For example, I can know how to play chess without always knowing the most optimal move to make in a game, but can it be said that I really know chess, if I do not always know the logical consequences of every possible move? Similarly, human beings can show proficiency with problems when asked in particular way, but not asked in another way—so, if you were asked to locate the multiple of forty-one times sixty-seven you could easily arrive at two-thousand seven-hundred and forty-seven, but when asked to get the prime factors of two-thousand seven-hundred and forty-seven, it may not be as easy of a problem for you to calculate, despite the fact that the content of the problems is the same.
Until very recently, computers bested human opponents through sheer brute-force computation of potential moves. Computers are able to process much larger arrays of data than human beings — though they may not yet have the most efficient algorithms for locating some types of patterns in that data. While human beings excel at certain types of problems, such as composing literature, making art—and even writing computer algorithms—this may soon change. What I wish to point out here, however, is that the human style has a kind of algorithm which is particularly efficient for calculating some problems — those which are local to the human interface and mesh well with our perceptual sensibilities—but not the kind of complex abstract problems for which machines are able to quickly and efficiently compute solutions.
What we will need are representations which can connect algorithms between the two interfaces — the human and the computational model. Jameson himself notes that conspiracy theory might be regarded as a degraded form of cognitive mapping — one that reduces the problematics of structural abstraction to a simplistic narrative. A good cognitive map must be able to represent complex and dynamic states with a high-degree of accuracy if it is to avoid the pitfalls of a degraded narrative.
This presents two major, but related epistemic challenges: 1. Avoiding reification into a static model, and 2. At the heart of both of these issues is the problem of reductionism. Squabbling over what it would mean to produce an accurate cognitive map has confined the majority of the conversation around cognitive mapping to a mere abstract possibility, or a site of critique, but what if there was a different approach? In Complexity Theory reductionism operates on the methodological level to clarify or expose intra or inter-systematic elements which may have not been previously intelligible.
Reductions become, then, useful fictions which, while not strictly true, provide a position of orientation within or between larger frameworks. Reduction need not be viewed as wholly negative, so long as we are aware of the constraints it imposes . Broadly, it describes a problem-solving tool which enables solutions through the transformation of one problem into another whose available pattern is more readily grasped. Let me provide a short example:. Imagine you have accidentally exited the New York subway at the wrong stop. You look around to orient yourself and see several landmarks which you recognize.
Realizing that your destination is somewhere south of One World Trade Center you begin to head in the direction of the building. As you turn down one street, you look up at the building again, and see that it has changed position relative to you, and that you are now heading further north than you intended.
The Inverted World
You turn down another street, and the building now appears to be ahead of you. Through this process of observation and correction, you eventually locate your original destination. As the example demonstrates, these solutions are not always optimal, but can be efficient given limited resources. Furthermore, because heuristics are often biased towards the limits of their original frame-of-reference that is to say, reductive , they tend to fail in predictable ways when applied to more general frames. I would now like to turn to one last example as a way of tying together some of the various themes of this presentation.
The Inverted World by Christopher Priest
Keeping with the theme of navigation, I would like to mention the work of the anthropologist Edwin Hutchins. He produces a unique comparison of Western and Micronesian navigation systems :. Micronesians primarily use a stellar path to navigate, though there are many other indicators drawn from the environment.
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The major distinction between Western and the Micronesian system, however, is that while the Western system is dependent upon a spatial representation drawn from a vertical perspective, the Micronesian system supposes a temporal representation with the perspective of the navigator at the center, and the sidereal points and other indicators revolving around their position. The position of the star paths provide points of reference as they proceed across the horizon in a successive and regular manner.
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The navigator divides the journey into a series of segments based on etaks, or the position of known islands under certain stars. As the journey proceeds, the canoe is regarded as fixed point, while the navigator updates the etak positions based upon how much time has passed. Without significant external storage systems written language, maps, compasses, etc. As a consequence of this system, however, the navigator will sometimes generate artificial reference points to aid the efficiency of the calculation. Hutchins is able to frame this comparative study by referring to a generalized computational account that can reconcile differences in the frames of representation.
He argues that early Westerners developed systems which were roughly analogous to the etak system, but diverged radically with the invention of external storage systems—maps, compasses, astral charts, etc. Now, let me be clear, I do not intend to argue for the superiority of one system or the other, but instead, recommend the utilization of both as necessary for dealing with distinct problems of navigation. We might compare the relatively primitive mapping devices of Westerners to our complex computational models. The Micronesian system may be seen in light of heuristics — an orientation strategy which allows the user to make a decision while subject to bounded knowledge.