A Sign Helps You Use It as Though It Were an X

Suppose an alien architect has invented a radically new way to go from one room to another…We would never recognize it as a door…All its physical details are wrong. No matter: just superimpose on its exterior some…sign that can remind us of its use. Clothe it in a rectangular shape, or add to it a push-plate lettered EXIT in red and white, and every visitor from the planet Earth will know…just what that pseudoportal’s purpose is.

…There are no doors inside our minds, only connections among our signs.1

For evolvable data exchange, you need to be able to continually add qualified references galore so that participants can reason by analogy – i.e., each new thing resembles something known before.

This is FAIR principle I3, which depends on I1 and I2 for robustness.

This post was adapted from a note sent to my email list on Machine-Centric Science.
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  1. M. Minsky, The Society of Mind. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986, p. 57. ↩︎