Herbert Arlt (Polylogue Centre, INST – Vienna) [Bio]
The magic word of these days for development, employment is digitalisation. Digitalisation is in the centre of the programs of Governments as Austria (2), but also of the European Union (3). Vienna even wants to get the Capital of Digitalisation in Europe.
And within the recent months another word comes up: Quantum. (4) But more than digitalisation it seems to relay to magic, to religion. Nobody seems to be interested in the real basics: the 0 and 1 and the 0 as (possible) 1 or 1 as (possible) 0.
Languages, Literatures, the arts, science and research seem to play not a real role for society in relation to digitalisation.(5) (About Quantum technologies there are still basic questions in the public unclear as the research in this field does not leave the borders of numbers and algorithms.) Universities seem to be less important than enterprises. And in this context they seem to be just a part of production or digitalisation in society.
In reality this is different. Remember the tiger states in Asia. They came up with the cheaper transistor production for computers. Remember the software industry in India. See the production of smartphones and super computers in China. – They come up and they fade and come up with new inventions.
In comparison: languages are the basics for cultures and civilisations for thousands of years. In the Tassili Mountains (6) you can find paintings, which are one of the oldest testimonies of the arts for mankind. It was literature which was and is important for the building of societies. Images and melodies/ songs structure our lives. And science and research is able to be more than a delivery institution to industry or digitalisation.
Characteristic of Digitalisation
Perhaps when we think about development and employment, we first should look at the characteristic of digitalisation, of its real possibilities and its borders.
No discussion: on digitalisation the financial streams, the markets, the organisation of states, the military etc. are based today. Internet as a part of this digitalisation is an excellent source for secret services. The possibilities of control seem to advance. But these are all the old structures. Look at the programs and you will find slogans, headlines, but no analysis about the basics. And there is no interest to know which the consequences are, when everything is reduced to 0 and 1.
Because of that there is a lot of magic around digitalisation. And it is another magic than you can find in comparison with Walt Disney’s Comic Books (7), because the magic of these comic books is part of a discovering of processes with there failures. These comics showed for example that the new economy is old before the new economy even dominated the bourses.
But the magic in the world publics around digitalisation covers the reality of the new technologies. The promoters come up with mythology and metaphors. To decode them it primary was not necessary to study mathematics, but to study language and literature interpretation. (8)
I start my decoding with the easy part: the basics. Digitalisation means 0 and 1, black or white. This works with numbers (for example money) or algorithm (everything you can express with numbers). This is needed to control machines (for example computers). But it does not work as soon as you have yes and no as a unit, as it is always the case in the history of mankind. But it also does not work with Quantum. And when you look at languages and translation machines (not only Google, but also Pons, Leo etc.) you will find out that these machines do not really work. Their translations would not pass any test for a translation seminar.
It is the same case with the images. There are big reports about face scanning in China. Facebook comes up with face scanning. But after billions of investment, there is still a high rate of failures. And the perfect scan in this way is just futurism (in the sense for example like the [fascist] futurism which failed at the beginning of the 1920ies century).
And look at the problems with artificial intelligence. Now for example in California it is allowed that cars are on the street without drivers. Also in Vienna they start with the first experiences in this direction. – Human drivers cause a lot of accidents every year. But without drivers there will be failures because it does not work in principal.
The story that is told about these projects is: there are failures. But we know how we can solve the problems. It is just a question of the time. The future is some years ahead. And the future will have arrived when digitalisation will work.
In this context of solving problems this way the main stream is to make the numeric process faster, the algorithm longer. There was a lot of development in hardware. And now the Quantum technology shall bring an advancement that is x-times faster than the fastest computer now. The “transfer” shall happen within the same time. But still all the big plans go in the direction of digitalisation (numbers, algorithms). In this sense Quantum technology is planned nothing less than a faster form of digitalisation. And this is the reason, why it does not work.
When we look at the digital computers – they need corrections. Not only because the software engineering was not correct. This is the everyday experience of hundreds of million who work for example with Microsoft software. But in the background there are other processes which need corrections. – And for the Quantum technology the researchers did not find out by now, what has to be done. The reason is, the search of correction goes in the direction of working with numbers, with algorithm.
Consequences: Black and white
These are technical problems. But what does it mean for mankind, if the world can only be expressed in 0 and 1, in black and white? We all know that the consequences are a catastrophe. We saw and can see the consequences when human beings are debased to numbers. Even mass murder is the follow up of such constructions.
But even the technical processes do not work as they should. We saw this in the financial crises. We saw this at the bourses several times. – All these crises, catastrophes and more are based on numeric processes.
The coverages of these problems are metaphors like navigation, because navigation is based on numeric constructions. And it was an important progress in the history of mankind, when with the help of numeric systems travel got possible in that new way. This sort of numeric systems, which was brought by the Arabs to Europe, meant progress in a new way since 852. The term Algorithm even goes back to a scientist from Bagdad of this time. (9) And this new numeric tool made it possible, that not only traveling was possible in a new way. But also the industrialisation would not have been possible without numbers. And also the administration of states is not possible without the “Arabian numbers”. Just look at the importance of the number 0 for example for the Government in Austria for the budget for today. The magic term is zero budgets.
But we know also, that black and white is not enough. The invention by Indians of 0 was a big progress, but with 0 and 1, black and white it is not possible to express the world. We know that the world is colourful. And the richness of the Islamic Universities was based on the colourful; the poorness of the intellectual world in Europe in the middle age was the thinking in black and white.
So we see: The simple working with computers demand more than black and white. The real life itself demands colours. So it is therefore a question of time that this demand shall be fulfilled as the hardware is available.
The fulfilling started with languages, literatures, the arts, and science and research long time before the machines. This world of colours exists also in a time of digitalisation. This is one aspect of the contemporary of the none-contemporary. (10)
The world of signs, images, tones, languages, literature, and the arts is another world of expression. (11) And the importance of Universities, Academies and beyond is connected with the role they play, to make this understood. The mere takeover of enterprise models of communication as we have it by now with Facebook, Twitter etc. is a signal for society that these institutions will not play an important role. They just reproduce something that makes problems in everyday life of every one of us. And the paradox is – these enterprises earn still the big money. More than that: they produced structures to control the world. And it seems they do not want to pay taxes and be in this sense part of social structures. So this sort of control is very dangerous.
Innovation and Digitalisation
The main point in this process is to make innovation possible. This was not the case in Europe, when the digitalisation started to get important. This was some decades before and I know how complicated it was to convince the colleagues from Universities to use the new technology. I know this, because INST was a pioneer in spreading the usage of Internet at a lot of Universities in this world. (12)
The main point in Europe was the reproduction of the analogue world within the digitalisation. (13) Instead of using the open structures they just wanted to reproduce for example the card index of the libraries in a digital form. That meant in reality to reproduce the old forms and structures of society with new technologies. But that did not work. And until now in Europe it is not understood that this was the main failure. And as this failure is not understood the next failure is on the way. And this is the reproduction of digitalisation within the Quantum technology. And this is the main point, why existing Quantum computers like that of the University of Innsbruck does not really work. The reason is, digitalisation stands in contradiction to Quantum reality. This is like you want to create colour TV by making the black and white TV faster. – This is not invention, but reproduction. And most of the billions of the EU budget for research go into reproduction. Also in the case of the Quantum technologies.
The background for that is that science and research do not play the role they should, when they want to have importance within societies. And it is very important that they play their role. Even when newspapers, radio, TV, Facebook, and Twitter etc. seem to be more powerful, this is only a reduced world, a world in black and white. Science and Research are one of the main powers to change societies – but only, when they are Science and Research and realize the real challenge.
When you look at the languages, the images, when you hear the tones – this is very different to the world of black and white. So it has also to be the role of science and research to develop a colourful world in the sense of a conceptual metaphor.
Principals of a world in colour
Identity of the none identity
In the world of digitalisation 1 has to be one and 0 has to be 0. But in the reality of the Quantum world 1 can be also zero.
This is the same with the languages. You have a word, but this word does not have only one identity. It has also other identities. This word is not just 0 or 1. So it is necessary for automated translation (which is not the same as machine translation), for artificial intelligence to use the modus operandi of the Quantum world. And this means to accept the Quantum World as a Quantum world.
Unit of contradictions
In Latin you have the expression Janus face. This is a double face. That corresponds in reality with everything – especially with human beings. Jura Soyfer says: yes and no, this is a human being.
Medicine for example: Paracelsus taught us, that medicine is poison, but as poison it can heal us.
Comparison: Digitalisation and Quantum technology
The identity of the none-identity, the unit of contradictions etc. cannot be expressed with 0 and 1. For that Quantum technology is needed.
In the consequence this means, the numbers and the algorithms have their borders in expressing the human life, because it is not possible to express with them the world. Even when it seems that within the digitalisation colours can be expressed – they cannot. They only can simulate the colours. And they have possibilities to simulate the identity of the none identity, the unit of the contradictions. But it is simulation with all consequence. And all the magic of promotion cannot hide the problems that arrive from that in everyday life. All the problems we have every day.
In comparison with that Quantum technology starts since some time to play a role in our everyday life and improves it. (See more about that and other aspects in the version of this article in German.) That means, there does not exist only a Quantum theory, but also a production which is based on this theory. This is already reality in our societies.
Innovation and false ways
We know latest since the UNESCO document “Our creative diversity” (1995) which is the result for Africa to be not really a part of an open exchange via Internet that could make Africa realize its possibilities because Africa was and is lacking the infrastructure. (13)
We saw, which has been the result, when France wanted to develop its own national Internet. The result was that a lot of years and within the years billions were lost. And it was the same problem: to be not a part of an open world exchange.
We also saw, which has been the result, when Europe wanted to reproduce the analogue world in the digital world – it got a slave of the big enterprises.
And it will be now the decline of the US enterprises, when the US President shall start a trade war. Because it will be also in this case the problem that the openness is lacking. And the positive trade balance from US (which is reality when the IT companies are included) against European Union will fade.
But that will not be only a problem of the US, but also of the world.
Innovation and Contexts
In about a quarter of Century it got clear, that the big enterprises used knowledge for free which was produced and published by the traditional scientist or within the traditional science public.
The main problem of these years and today is not, if someone quotes correct in his or her academic work, even if it necessary that these standards are fulfilled. The main problem is that enterprises take knowledge for free and make money and benefit with something they did not invent. This is the real problem.
So it is not enough to have an idea. It is very expensive to protect an idea with worldwide importance in form of a patent. And it is even more expensive to distribute a patent in a form that an inventor, an originator and his supporters, his network can get the money they should get.
Technology and progress
But as ever: a technology itself does not bring the progress. The one question is to develop such a technology. And this is on the way. We will see who will realize the chances. But it is clear that for the development of the hardware big money is necessary.
This one way means that it seems the big enterprises develop the hardware. This seems to be done. But also this time Europe does not take its chance, because the investment goes into the false direction. There is only a fragmented investment in hardware. And the innovation in the software is not secured.
The background is: for the development of the innovative use of the hardware only a small part of investment is necessary. And the use within society can be done in another way then for example in Europe, where the states pay for the infrastructure for the big enterprises, but the big enterprises do not pay taxes that can be used for this infrastructure.
A new coalition is necessary, to use Quantum technology for a fair world. This world shall be not 0 and 1, not a world of rich and fugitives, it shall be an open world not only with windows to look somewhere, but also with doors to make a fair exchange possible.
The importance of exchange
There shall be another point: the organization of this exchange. Numbers, algorithms are universal languages. And the same will be with the Quantum language. But we have in this world about 25.000 languages as the UNESCO documents tell us.
In this perspective numeric systems, algorithms, Quantum language are only the tools. With Quantum language we have the possibility to deal with this in a new way. But still the language has to be used by human beings. And that is a big chance for the youth, for the Universities not only Europe, in Africa, but everywhere. So the most important point is not to learn the business models of big enterprises, not the machine models. The most important point is to find a way to the own expression to own goals of distribution. Also in this sense it is necessary to understand this world as a colourful world.
In Internet this means a new form of organization. And that means, not only what you can see on the stage is important. The question is which background processes structure Internet in its open and colourful form. And it also will be a progress, when with Quantum technology Internet will be x-times faster. But that is not the main point. The main point is the new quality of processing.
In Austria there are ways to organize this background. The problem is that this structuring did not realize the reality of digitalisation. And there is not even an approach to understand to use Quantum technology.
Example: project Digital World Museum of Mountains
In cooperation with the University Oran 2, Tassili National Park and about 200 partners in this world Polylogue Centre develops the project Digital World Museums of Mountains and special (hologram) exhibitions about the Tassili mountains in Vienna, Paris and perhaps Yaounde, Buenos Aires, New Delhi. Also in this case we will be pioneers, even when this is by now no Quantum World Museum of Mountains. But the innovation within this project could help to structure a part of the Internet in a new way in the sense of more fairness. It could help to distribute goods in a new way. It would support cultural tourism. And these are just some fields of new employment.
In this sense the Digital World Museum of Mountains is not a project with small borders. It is a conceptual metaphor in principal.
And when I talk about conceptual metaphor for example, I do this also in the sense of software programming of today. That means: When I learn first to program in the year 1976, I had to write the program with 0 and 1. When someone says today: I am programming that means something different. She or he does not work with 0 and 1 but with clusters which are based on 0 and 1.
And in this sense I am working also with clusters even when I want to explain something very clear. Because what I did not want to do with this contribution is to explain the technical background before my patent is not registered. But in other cases I organized conferences for example about innovation and reproduction, about the contemporaneousness of the none contemporaneousness, an own encyclopaedia of cultural sciences etc. A knowledge which could be used.
The unbelievable intelligent machines
In reality there is a gap between the promotion and the organisation of digitalisation. The promotion says: look at these unbelievable machines. But in reality there are human beings behind these machine who abolish problems, which come up because of 0 and 1. On 9 July „Die Süddeutsche“ published about this Pseudo Artificial Intelligence an article with a lot of examples.
So this contribution intends not to explain with some sentences a complex world. This contribution invites you to read more about this new world and invites you to participate at the Polylogue process and the scientific cooperation in this filed. And it invites you to support this initiative for an open exchange.
I am very glad about this cooperation with my colleagues in Oran and my other Algerian friends in Djanet, Algiers and other places, which has an importance not only for Universities, but also for the Mediterranean area, for the globalization with a human face. (15)
(1) There exist two versions of this article. One version is in English – this was the language of the opening speech at the conference of University Oran 2 on 11 March 2018 organized by Univ.Prof.Dr. Aoussine Seddiki. Some footnotes and updates were added to this original version. And there exists a version in German. This version is more advanced as a lot of relevant literature about Quantum technology is in German. So there are a lot of additional documentations, descriptions and footnotes in the German version in comparison with the English version.
(2) The Austrian Government program (see especially page 19): https://www.bundeskanzleramt.gv.at/documents/131008/569203/Regierungsprogramm_2017%E2%80%932022.pdf/b2fe3f65-5a04-47b6-913d-2fe512ff4ce6
(3) See European Commission about Digital transformation: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/industry/policy/digital-transformation_en
(4) There are also programs by the Austrian Government and the European Union to support the research in this area. In Austria (article in German): https://derstandard.at/2000077684613/Neues-Foerderprogramm-fuer-Quantenforschung-startet In the European Union (FET Flagship on Quantum technologies): http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/opportunities/h2020/topics/fetflag-03-2018.html
(6) About the Tassili project see TRANS 23: http://www.inst.at/trans/23/ It is part of the project Digital World Museum of Mountains. See the opening speech at the conference at the University of Oran 2 in 2017 about this project: http://www.inst.at/trans/22/digital-world-museum-of-mountains/
(7) Arlt shall publish in summer 2018 an article about Walt Disney and Tomorrowland. This is important, because key persons in Austria and also the European Union (politics, economy etc.) work with the language, the pictures, the imagination of these films and comics, but they do not take into account the failings which the comics of Disney document in its publications since decades. This begins with traffic and comes up to Einstein theories, chaos theories until now to the Quantum theories (to quote only some examples).
(10) See the World Conference “The Contemporary of the None-Contemporary”: http://www.inst.at/trans/14Nr/inhalt14.htm
(11) See the contributions at the UNESCO project EOLSS: https://www.eolss.net/outlinecomponents/Literature-Fine-Arts.aspx
(12) Some information about that in German: http://www.inst.at/termine/instsemi.htm
(13) See the documentation of the INST World Conference “Innovation and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies”: http://www.inst.at/burei/CBand6.htm
(14) See the UNESCO document Our Creative Diversity: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0010/001055/105586e.pdf
(15) One of the follow ups is the Tassili project. Polylogue Centre and Tassili National Park are on the way to organize a conference in March 2019 in Djanet. About the project Digital World Museum of Mountains see: http://www.inst.at/trans/22/digital-world-museum-of-mountains/