The Future|Chapter 10| Complexity, Information Theory and the Nature of Symbolic systems: The Death of the Gods and the Revolt Against Reason

Dynamic images-Games in cyberspace

Unlike animated movies whereby images are displayed in a pre-arranged order, Video games react to the decisions of the player forcing graphics to be rendered in real-time making them dynamic. Video games also represent the electrification of action figures. Whereby, in 1985, when forced to choose between Rambo, Barbie or a Nintendo NES (a game console), children chose the NES. By 1993, video games became mass culture with more children able to recognise Sonic or Mario (iconic video game characters) than Mickey Mouse. Said another way, 1993 was the year dynamic images started to surpass variable images.

The reason why video games find themselves in the chapter about the future stems from the fact that despite being produced decades apart, all of Microsoft Xboxes are roughly the same size. Hardware designers are constrained by what consumers deem to be an acceptable size of an Xbox.

Nowhere has the rise of cyberspace been more noticeable than the rise of video games. Video games, as computer programs, were so computationally intensive that the first games were hardwired. Each game was a specific set of circuit boards, which can only run one game. Every Game was a new set of circuit boards. Additionally, you had to go to a physical place in space to play video games- the legendary arcade. 

The arcade 

Prior to the video-fication of games, arcades were considered a lowbrow endeavor and entirely mechanical. The biggest game there was pinball. The arcade went by the way of the brick and mortar chess club, but is poised for a resurgence in the VR era for the same reason as before. The high cost of information technologies forces people together. As these technologies progress, more people can afford to buy them. The decreasing cost of computing made arcades less relevant with the introduction of the home console and gaming computer. Demand curves being downward sloping, increased ease of access to games led to increase in people’s attention to them. A literal increase in the size of cyberspace.

The home console 

The home console forgoes the parts of the computer which are not necessary for games in order to provide a richer gaming experience at a cheaper price.

These cyberspace worlds became increasingly salient and increasingly networked. Although the Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64 pioneered the home console market, it was not until the publication of Doom – The subsequent lan  based death matches, that games become a phenomenon. Doom outsold Windows A startling phenomena when you consider that both programs exploit the most recent developments of computer graphics-the ability to project three dimensional images. John Carmack, the developer of the Doom being one of the greatest programmers of his generation.

A computer can only represent a limited amount of information on screen. The minimum subdivision of the screen is called a pixel. The number of pixels that can be displayed on screen is the resolution. Computers can only fetch and retrieve limited amount of information per cycle (or second). The lower the resolution, the less pixels I have, the faster I can alter what is on-screen. This is why e-sports player’s don’t game on the highest possible resolution. The game will be slower. 

Despite the increasing level of computation (indexation). Most credit the Golden era of video games from the arcade games of the 70s to the computer games of the 1990s (something is missing). Personally, I declare the end of the Golden era of gaming with the release of Microsoft’s Xbox in 2001 (my first console). Although, in theory, games should have gotten better. Since we are able to represent more information on the screen in a quicker way. It’s been all downhill since Halo.In fact, even Halo is not safe anymore. 

In 2014, the iconic franchise) was remastered. One could either play with 2001’s graphics or 2014’s. I went with 2001’s (and it wasn’t for nostalgia).The new graphics are annoying, since most of the advances in computer processing go toward texture rendering. Making objects look more detailed is nice. But I am here to defend the earth from an alien invasion. Ideally, the background should not distract.

At the end of the day, in-depth texture rendering in itself is almost a useless pursuit. As nature encodes information on a quantum level, computers (ordinateur) encode it on a binary level. This is the biggest obstacle against virtual reality. Preventing it from being used as anything other than a substitute for a monitor (TV or computer).The mind likes fractal roughness. Making augmented reality (AR) the better bet. As you can think of an electronic billboard as an example of an AR. 

Nintendo understood this implicitly as most of the games are drawn as cartoons. What Disney Animation did in 1937, took George Lucas’ Industrial Light Magic until the 1990s to achieve. Despite Nintendo’s Switch being slower, it managed to compete with the newer consoles. What matters is that the gameplay is fun. Yes, you do get used to a certain level of graphical processing. But after a point, it is the same. As increasing computation (indexation) and programming complexity has actually made the industry paradoxically worse. As David Brevik lead programmer of Diablo 1 and 2 (arguably the greatest pc game in history) believes graphics should never interfere with gameplay.

PLATO: that friendly orange glow

The PLATO computer system is something that you probably never heard of. Which is a shame, because PLATO is one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century. What happened on PLATO took forty years to happen on your computer. And it all comes down to that friendly orange glow. 

PLATO was fundamentally a time sharing computer system that limited users not by the time they could spend on it, but by how many instructions they could run using their computers. The instructions were measured in the thousands, while today standard computers deal in the billions. Despite this, you could do on PLATO almost everything you could do on today’s computers. That was IN THE EARLY 1970S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The genius of the PLATO system is what eventually made it obsolete. The friendly orange flow refers to the fact that the computer display was rendered using a neon gas. A gas which glows orange. Unlike today’s computers who have a dedicated graphics processing unit, PLATO had to minimize the use of computation. It was computationally  too expensive to bitmap a display. Despite this poor display, some of the best games ever were on PLATO. (I am currently waiting for someone to make a mobile version of Empire).

The rise of the nerds

There was a definitive end to the Golden Age of comic cinema. It was the exact moment Sylvester Stallone made an appearance on screen. Silvester Stallone- formerly Sly Stallone before the filming of Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Once the Pinnacle of 1980s masculinity is now  in a space movie featuring a talking raccoon and a tree? Rocky Balboa perhaps quite literally took a few too many to the head. As his appearance. I cannot stress this enough, was actually completely/absolutely/totally incomprehensible. The reason for that is that Rambo was never meant to be on Star Trek.The revenge of the Nerds is now complete.

The Revenge of the nerds [a series of movies] of which I have only seen 76 minutes of the sequel (Because that is the exact amount of time to watch a revenge of the Nerds movie). Can only be viewed in the greater context of rising nerd culture.

The rise of the nerds closely parallels the rise of computing as such. It Can first be spotted in the aforementioned Star Trek with the transition from Kirk to Picard.This is was a transition so hallowed in Dorkdom that it was part of the pilot of the Big Bang Theory highlighting two Dorks meeting in their natural habitat. Kirk or Picard one mutters. Picard over Kirk.But original over Next Generation.

 Why? Because the king of the dorks, the head dork himself-Mr Spock, a character who the dorks believe to embody logic, is actually a character of repression. A repression which led him to make out ironically with a member of the cast of the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in 2009’s Star Trek. (This made the nerds very upset.)

Now it is worth comprehending that the United States is a place in time and space seemingly devoid of it-it is about the now. America does sometimes fall in love with its past as can be seen by the success of the Barry Crockett Disneyland shows.

The Kobayashi Maru

This makes the uSAit a very special place, as it is about the only culture in existence who could have produced the Kobayashi Maru.

Kobayashi Maru, or the Impossible situation, is a tale straight out of the old country. But only in the USA can there can be a hero who beats the impossible (by cheating).

Kirk is better thought of as a  Space Cowboy resembling American action movies heroes of yore. Unlike the stage actor Jon Stewart who basically stayed in character throughout the duration of the X-Men franchise, Stewart brought,  let’s just say, a less red blooded performance, but still with some iconic moments

After all “The line will be drawn here. No further. “

Now we seem to be at the peak of nerd culture, like I said before comic movies are now a thing. However, it is hard to understand when this exact point in cinema actually started.The creators of 2003’s Hulk called each other worried after having seen Sam Rami’s Spider-Man. They were worried that their Hulk movie wouldn’t do well because Spiderman created a genre. Seemingly ignoring the fact that the climax of their movie consists of the Hulk (the embodiment of physical rage) fighting a cloud (which also happens to be his father at the same time). Yes, really.   

Crediting the birth of the comic movie genre to Spiderman has more to do with the critical success of the film. Spiderman being the Apex of Amy Pascal’s reign as head of Sony Pictures than the actual truth of the matter. However if you wanted to say when this golden age started I would say with Hugh Jackman’s original X-Men franchise (starring Captain Picard as Professor X).


The American withdrawal from Afghanistan is reminiscent of the Roman retreat from Britain less than 100 years before the fall of the empire itself. The original conquest of Anglestan, by Caesar, is best compared to the moon landing. Anglestan was so remote at the time that the ability to rule it was taken as a triumph of Roman technological ingenuity. The Romans left it because they were not able to maintain the apex of the empire.

It can be argued that after the 911 terror attacks, Americans wanted war for what amounted to be the greatest attack on the United States since the War of Independence. However, much of the empire has been lost in the mountains and caves of Afghanistan. The uSA, even credits Afghanistan with ending the USSR. The Americans, on the other hand, had precision guided weapons. However, try to ‘precisely’  guide a missile into a cave. Let alone, every cave in the western Himalayas.

The conflict with Al-Qaeda is emblematic of the shift of scale of warfare from mass engagement between countries, to countries trying to use mass armies to fight non-state actors. As a result of the decreasing cost of destruction, warfare is now possible by non government institutions. The warfare of the future is the conflict between the state and the individual.

How does a state respond to the aggression of a non state actor? George Bush, blamed the state that they were housed in. Does one invade Mexico to deal with the cartels? And if you do succeed in neutralizing the criminal syndicate, does one engage in state building? In a place in space that never had a state in order to ensure that the cartels never return? A more sensible response would have been the use of special forces and elite regular forces units on an attack on al Qaeda. Not a full scale invasion.

Web 3.0-Decentralized Cyberspace

Cloud computing

After a certain point, shared cyberspace started to overtake private cyberspace (the personal computer). Google, during its early history, was the world’s largest computer manufacturer. Their best client being themselves. By manufacturing only their own internal servers, Google made more computers than anyone on earth.

The only difference between private cyberspace (the personal computer) and shared cyberspace (The Internet) is the location of the data. Is it stored on your hard drive or Google’s data server? The shift from hard drive to Cloud Storage started with Google Docs and other related products.

Unlike traditional computing, cloud computing has two bottlenecks to overcome, not one. Both suffer from the fundamental bottleneck of computers. The amount of binary digits that can be fetched and retrieved per cycle.

Cloud computers have to contend with fetching and retrieving these digits over a larger geographical area. The distance between your terminal and Google’s servers is greater than the distance between your CPU and the terminal. Internet speed and coverage are currently the dimensions by which cloud computing scales over.

The journey to the cloud is a gradual one. The same efficiency arguments in favor of self-driving cars apply to cloud computing. It is The minimization of slack as most of the processing power is unused most of the time. In addition,  most people spend their time idle on the computer instead of using it. 

However, when it comes to a freedom of thought argument, Centralized computing means centralized information. Demand curves being downward sloping,  censorship has never been cheaper.

The Battery

The most limited part of any mobile computer is the battery that powers it. In the sense, you are literally limited by how much power is in your battery.


Broadband, is what determines how much space has access to cyberspace. The speed of the broadband determines the density of cyberspace.

Cyber currency

Most of the arguments regarding the general nature of cryptocurrency dispute the value of a digital coin. Most of these arguments ignore the fundamental definition of money as a useful medium of exchange. Cryptocurrencies provide a useful medium of exchange for countries trying to evade the international dollar SWIFT system.

On a micro scale, it is easier to send large sums of money with cryptocurrency than through the traditional banking sector.

The fundamental question of the banking industry is, why does it cost so much money and take so much time for bank transfers? Fundamentally, money is a digit which is a symbol. Why is there a bifurcation, in the cost of sharing a number denoting money as opposed to any kind of number?


Despite their IPO in 2002, PayPal is a company from the future. What started out as an avangarde effort into the mobile payment space, ended up with a bundling of money and email. PayPal was originally designed as a way to share money via the Palm Pilot, via infrared radiation. Infrared, the precursor to bluetooth, was limited in the density of information that can be shared and the range it can be shared over. In addition to the fact that nobody outside of Silicon Valley (the dork capital of the world) had a Palm Pilot. Palm Pilot had roughly a cap of five million users. That network was not, big enough network to make payments over. The iPhone penetration is what the Palm Pilot could not achieve.  Paypal’s original vision of a digital wallet  copied by Apple and Google Pay.

The market for email users, however, is much larger. In addition to being an easier way to share money than by bank transfer. PayPal’s value came as a universal web payment interface or API. Traditional banks were secured by arcane regulations which make barriers to entry extremely high.  The banks were openly wondering why they would cannibalize their own business by investing in web payments. Banks were slow to pivot towards web payments.

Cyberspace, is a place in space. It is the location of the physical servers that hold the binary digits which comprise the Matrix. PayPal’s first problem was that it was mainly designed for Ebay, not for the web at large. As e-commerce on the web was still in its nascent. PayPal’s market had still not matured. The fundamental determinant behind PayPal’s success was convenience.


The fundamental question, regarding a digital wallet (like a physical wallet) is security.


The value of Bitcoin, stems from its cryptography. Bitcoin is a secure object in cyberspace. Satoshi Nakamoto invented the first crypto-currency: Bitcoin. It was a response to the financial crisis in 2008. Cryptographically secured currencies, or cryptocurrencies, are a subset of cyber currency, i.e., currencies used in cyberspace. The difference between the two comes down to centralized as opposed to decentralized securitisation. By distributing validation, through a blockchain, the value of a bitcoin is not fungible by others (government or otherwise).

The Dark Web

What makes the dark web so dark? Unlike the regular web, you cannot see who uses it. The Wild Wild West www of cyberspace is currently being sustained by the American intelligence agencies. In order to ensure that operators are able to securely share information.

The same is true for anyone for that matter. That’s the problem or the solution, depending on which perspective you take. The Dark Web still has not gone mainstream. So the only people using it are the people who can’t use the regular web. The content on it there is therefore a reflection of this, mostly consisting with otherwise illegal services.

The paradox of the dark web is its limited scale. More illegal pornography is hosted on the worldwide web than the dark web. However, the difference between these two webs are the several dozen orders of magnitude in the amount of data stored on each of them. The worldwide web allows for opportunities to hide in plain sight. While the dark web scrambles your IP, allowing you to anonymously reach the Torrent (is that what you meant) browser.


The ability to share content digitally is just a natural function of the speed of navigating cyberspace. People started sharing content with each other as soon as they were to do so. Fundamentally, a natural evolution in information technology was repressed by industry incumbents. Music piracy stopped being an existential threat once it became convenient to buy content using the same medium.Your defense against piracy is the cost of convenience.

The nature of attention economics is such that despite not making money on the original sale. Attention products are fat tail dominated so it’s so many mutually beneficial trades if someone pirates your content.

Chan sites + Reddit

In terms of the dark places on the regular web, we look no further than the bulletin board sites mentioned along in decreasing orders of depravity-8chan, 4chan, Reddit. Whereby, in the Chan family of sites, unlike traditional social media, users retain anonymity. This allows for a level of depravity that is not even profitable,

However, discussions which originate on the ‘chan’ sites seep their way into traditional social media and corporate media. Completing the cycle of the expression of notes from the underground. These notes became increasingly louder as they’re more people now writing them. A trend increasing with the increasing population density is cyberspace.

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and private cyberspace

The ability to secure an image in cyberspace is what is known as an NFT.

Agent Smith

The actual antagonist of the Matrix franchise was Agent Smith. He was  able to embody any member in the Matrix. The increased ubiquity of camera based technologies, had led to an increase in the ability for a centrally managed database to monitor the world.

The rise of the snicher-net, can be first spotted in 2009. With NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal’s, (legendary) rap in diss towards (other) NBA superstar Kobe Bryant in a New York City night club.

You know how I be, last week Kobe couldn’t do without me

Kobe tell me how my a@@ taste

Shaq ‘Diesel’ O’Neal

What Shaq thought was a private moment in space, is forever captured in the annals of cyberspace.

The Groupchat

As shared cyberspace, is increasingly filled with ideological landmines. The group chat remains a relatively safe space for refuse. With future social media built on the shared media of these self selected private networks.

Smart contracts

The advent of smart contracts represents an involution in the set of symbolistic systems, applied to law, from alphabetical symbols to boolean circuits. This Allowed for a decentralization in information disputation by allowing automatic contingencies to be triggered, based on certain criteria.

The Homepod

The homepod is the spiritual successor to the universal remote, the dream device of nerds in the early aughts. The fundamental question of the universal remote is how many household appliances are accessible by it. With home appliances becoming increasingly smart. Smartness refers to the extent to which multiprocessors are integrated as part of an appliance. All appliances already have an electronic circuit. This is what allows you to have multiple options on your washing machine. Now ironically, the company best suited for a homepod is the only company not making one.


Samsung, who prior to Google‘s Ascendance in the smartphone industry, was the second best smartphone manufacturer in the world. In addition to being one of the best air conditioning, television, and other household appliance company in the world. This can be considered as the true definition of a semiconductor company. Now they have they however, like a home pod to tie all these features together.

The internet of things

The Home pod is essentially a smart speaker pioneered by Amazon (replicated by everyone else)e. This should come as no surprise that a company without an orthodox portal to cyberspace would Pioneer a new one- Alexa. The smart, in the smart speaker, refers to the AI personal assistant embedded in the device.

The rest of the computing industry would follow suit with their own smart speaker. Usually, a half-hearted attempt with a digital assistant being bundled with an average speaker. The home pod market is a microcosm for the respective ecosystems that each company provides.