Cyberspace Web





Enter the web.


The future rests with the analog, and not with the digital.

Within the mindset, if not the technology, of the future, an analog mentality will reign supreme.

Leonardo da Vinci and Vannevar Bush would both have agreed.

Leonardo's designs were mostly qualitative, rather than quantitative. They made references to one another and to observations of nature. They showed a profound understanding of the dynamics of various phenomena, although they would make terrible computer programs. Leonardo's variables were seldom well-defined. His functions accepted arguments with multiple values (or numerous metaphorical meanings) which denotes suicide in any digital domain. Moreover, the functions had speculative definitions. Precise quantities were often insignificant to Leonardo who pursued a deeper understanding of the interaction between natural events. His vivid desriptions and sketches formed his variables, while his theoretical and practical experiments constituted his functions. Leonardo da Vinci spent little time trying to formulate his methods in conventionally hierarchical contexts, he instead attempted to view nature in ways that made the best sense to him.

Vannevar Bush built an analog supercomputer perhaps because that was the only technology available to him at the time. Had he been born twenty years later, he might have produced a digital version of his brainchild. However, it seems somehow fitting that the Rockefeller Differential Analyzer was a purely analog beast. I find it especially appropriate that Bush, much like Dr. Frankenstein, 'cobbled' his machine together from whatever was at hand. The precise sizes of the shafts, cogs and wheels that he used seemed insignificant. As long as everything more or less fit together and worked reasonably well, his aim would have been reached. Bush's main motivation appears to have been making a respectable case for the paradigm of analogy, and with his life's work he seems to have succeeded remarkably at it.

Both Leonardo da Vinci and Vannevar Bush were hypertext personified. They believed that connections, relationships, similarities and analogies held more importance than the specifics of any one field. Decentralization was the key; as long as one comprehended the connections between concepts, any one concept lacked individual irreplaceable importance. In a highly dynamic, everchanging world, such as the world of science and technology where the only constant was change, the only relevant infrastructure was the network of connections between concepts which maintain their general behavior rather than their specific identity. In-depth study of any subject was only as useful as the insight it brought to the study of other subjects. Creativity lay in discovering the connections, everday geniuses could always work out the mundane details.

Sophie Marceau would probably have some difficulty comprehending the above paragraph, seeing as how English is not her native language.