My alternative busines model

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope at
Fri Dec 6 22:48:37 UTC 2002

On 6 Dec 2002 at 3:00, Simo Sorce wrote:

> On Thu, 2002-12-05 at 22:54, Niall Douglas wrote:
> > Information, because of its wide extant and subjective nature, is
> > completely useless without an observer. You could even say all data
> > in a computer is mostly useless except for the fact we humans
> > consider it valuable. To a computer program, it processes
> > information which may consist of pure information, other software or
> > mathematical formulae. But it does not know the intrinsic *value* of
> > the information past those three basic groupings.
> Sorry but I do not get how this statement take you to the following
> conclusions. You say: Information, is completely useless without an
> observer. 

I say this because all information is at best a subset because a 
human subjectively removes that which they do not consider relevent. 
Therefore information needs a /context/ ie; a framework with which to 
make it relevent and thus useful.

> And also: a computer program does not know the intrinsic
> *value* of the information. On my opinion also a computer program is
> completely useless without observers (with a broad meaning for the
> term observer) and the fact that a computer program do not know the
> intrinsic value of the information does not make it different from
> information, information does not know anything about itself either.

So therefore you are saying that a tree which falls over makes no 
noise if no one is around to hear it?

> In this regard a computer program is a lot like an algorithm which is
> also in part information (even if it is valid without observers).

I completely agree with this statement. All three are similar in many 
respects. However neither one can be completely represented as one of 
the others - an algorithm cannot be information because it is 
eternally true. Software cannot be information because it also 
eternally true. An algorithm cannot be software because it lacks 
context and thus is useless. Thus, software is the only one eternally 
true and useful without needing anything else.

Thus in my view, it makes sense to treat software as distinct from 
its algorithms. Algorithms should be free - and let unhindered 
evolution decide the best implementation of each algorithm.

Perhaps if the EPO were instructed in this kind of theory :), we 
wouldn't even be considering software patents (or at least if we 
were, they'd exclusively cover the implementation and not the idea - 
which since is already covered by copyright, makes them extra 
complexity where we need none).

Hopefully the list now sees why I see software as something unique 
and different and therefore subject to different legal support than 
any other thing. Strangely, all that theory is fifty years old and 
yet still hasn't made a political impact :(

> > Hence why software != algorithms != information.
> So my idea is: software ~ algorithms ~ information

Oh they are similar, but not fully representable in terms of the 
other - therefore "not equal".


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