How A Computer Reads Things.
It was while I was writing the last post that I dug into the html to adjust the positioning of the image, to be confronted with something looking like this:
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Which as you can see, is easy to read. If, that is, you’re a computer. Without gaps, punctuation and paragraphs, it becomes a little difficult to read. If, that is, you’re a human.
Because we all read by looking at words as images, and whilst we make this a little easier by adding spaces – and Asian languages largely do not – the ability to see several letters together as one word means we can read fluently. Those who can’t need to spell the letters out in their mind and work out what the letters mean, then what the word means. In becoming ‘fluent’ in reading means that we have established a whole panoply of images that we can readily recognize when reading.
Even the most intellectual of people will do this; the difference is that they don’t realize it, and merely assume their brain acts like a computer, compiling the letters and not considering the words to be images. That is what one might term a ‘high level task’. Certainly higher level than just plodding through the letters and processing each byte as it comes along – which is how a computer recognizes a letter.
This is what the computer sees. Remember that this stream of digits is automatically dissected into bytes that are placed before the inputs of the processor:
As you can see, it’s very easy to read. I mean, you did read it, didn’t you? Every zero and every one? (Of course, for the comuter, each of these ‘0’s on your screen is actually the series of inputs – the byte – ‘00110000’ and each ‘1’ is the series of inputs ‘00110001’ – representing things for a human to read is no easy matter for a computer!)
Now anybody fluent in reading the 256 characters possible with these binary “letters” will be able to read this with ease. Naturally, this will mean that they’ve read these things enough to form them as images in their mind, rather than having to run their finger along the line. It’s when a person is unaware of this situation means that they’ve never really thought about what it is to read fluently – because if you had, you’d have unveiled the truth for yourself.
Of course, there is another problem which is a little more subtle, in that the letters on their own – which is what one must read here first – are not so easy to read when decoded. That’s because you need to read the letters and THEN read what it says.
Naturally, in amongst this jumble of 0s and 1s there are markers for spaces, the well known %20 symbol you see on some web addresses. Computers can’t see gaps, can they? It was several years ago that I noticed this and it made my ears prick. Because if you can’t see a space, you cannot imagine an image, be it a word or anything else. Computers are stuck with ‘reading’ (if one can call what a computer does when faced with electrical stimuli at its inputs) each letter and processing it accordingly.
Because that’s all a computer can do.
When it comes to passwords, the computer doesn’t even process the letters, it just makes a ‘checksum’ – a summation of the digital inputs – and if both are the same, you’re in. No thinking required! The computer didn’t even look at the letters, it just tallied up the electronic signals and that was it.
So the next time you hear a person say a computer can be intelligent, realize that your intelligence is based on your ability to imagine. The more you have developed your imagination, the more you will be able to form long-lasting images in your mind – the kind of thing that keeps people interested when there’s nothing to do.
Most people have a smartphone because they can’t, and because they can’t, need the images fed to them in the form of movies or words sent to them by their bosom pals.
One Easy Solution Which Uses The Human’s Ability To Imagine.
One of my emails was hacked, not an uncommon happening these days. Hackers and spammers could do nicer things with their brains only as ever the cart’s before the horse. Hacking and spamming is all they know, and they probably can’t see a way out. They probably enjoy the challenge too, so they don’t even want a way out. Which is a problem for us and it’s not as if we aren’t facing enough challenges as a species without their adding to them.