Wide coding: Tetris, Morse and, perhaps, language

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Code biology uses protein synthesis to pursue how living systems fabricate themselves. Weight falls on intermediary systems or adaptors that enable translated DNA to function within a cellular apparatus. Specifically, code intermediaries bridge between independent worlds (e.g. those of RNAs and proteins) to grant functional lee-way to the resulting products. Using this Organic Code (OC) model, the paper draws parallels with how people use artificial codes. As illustrated by Tetris and Morse, human players/signallers manage code functionality by using bodies as (or like) adaptors. They act as coding intermediaries who use lee-way alongside “a small set of arbitrary rules selected from a potentially unlimited number in order to ensure a specific correspondence between two independent worlds” (Barbieri, 2015). As with deep learning, networked bodily systems mesh inputs from a coded past with current inputs. Received models reduce ‘use’ of codes to a run-time or program like process. They overlook how molecular memory is extended by living apparatuses that link codes with functioning adaptors. In applying the OC model to humans, the paper connects Turing's (1937) view of thinking to Wilson's (2004) appeal to wide cognition. The approach opens up a new view of Kirsh and Maglio's (1994) seminal studies on Tetris. As players use an interface that actualizes a code or program, their goal-directed (i.e. ‘pragmatic’) actions co-occur with adaptor-like ‘filling in’ (i.e. ‘epistemic’ moves). In terms of the OC model, flexible functions derive from, not actions, but epistemic dynamics that arise in the human-interface-computer system. Second, I pursue how a Morse radio operator uses dibs and dabs that enable the workings of an artificial code. While using knowledge (‘the rules’) to resemiotize by tapping on a transmission key, bodily dynamics are controlled by adaptor-like resources. Finally, turning to language, I sketch how the model applies to writing and reading. Like Morse operators, writers resemiotize a code-like domain of alphabets, spelling-systems etc. by acting as (or like) bodily adaptors. Further, in attending to a text-interface (symbolizations), a reader relies on filling-in that is (or feels) epistemic. Given that humans enact or mimic adaptor functions, it is likely that the OC model also applies to multi-modal language.

Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2019

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