Friday, May 11, 2012

Zum Positionspapier der VG Wort zum Urheberrecht

Sehr geehrte VG Wort,

soeben habe ich Ihr Positionspapier erhalten und gelesen. Als Wissenschaftler, Autor und Leser bin ich empört über Ihren Widerstand gegen jegliche Verkürzung der Schutzfristen, insbesondere gegen die freche Behauptung, sie hätte keinerlei Vorteil für die Allgemeinheit.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Lambda Calculus for Absolute Dummies (like myself)

If there is one highly underrated concept in philosophy today, it is computation. Why is it so important? Because computationalism is the new mechanism. For millennia, philosophers have struggled when they wanted to express or doubt that the universe can be explained in a mechanical way, because it is so difficult to explain what a machine is, and what it is not. The term computation does just this: it defines exactly what machines can do, and what not. If the universe/the mind/the brain/bunnies/God is explicable in a mechanical way, then it is a computer, and vice versa.

Unfortunately, most people outside of programming and computer science don't know exactly what computation means. Many may have heard of Turing Machines, but these things tend to do more harm than good, because they leave strong intuitions of moving wheels and tapes, instead of what it really does: embodying the nature of computation.

(A Turing Machine, doing more harm than good. But very cool, nonetheless!)

The Lambda Calculus does exactly the same thing, but without wheels to cloud your vision. It might look frighteningly mathematical from a distance (it has a greek letter in it, after all!), so nobody outside of academic computer science tends to look at it, but it is unbelievably easy to understand. And if you understood it, you might end up with a much better intuition of computation.