Subject: Re: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Encyclopedia From: Erik Naggum <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Tue, 06 Nov 2001 14:23:40 GMT Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <email@example.com> * Erann Gat | The difference is this: it is possible to take the information content of | a book and render it in a computer in a way that does not lose the book's | essential value. This begs the question of why a computer is so special. What, exactly, makes electricity non-real? What kind of magic wand does a computer possess that makes that which is stored within it _materially_ different from any other reality? The fact that we can no longer _see_ it is no different from a lot of other very real things that we cannot see. And who _values_ things? How come a particular aspect of a book is designated an "essential value" just because a computer can retain it? If I model a car down to its smallest details in some form that is not usable as a car, but from which a working car may again be built, it is completely irrelevant to the owners of the car design that I had a non-usable intermediate model. The same goes for books, actually, and whether the intermediate, non-book model can be _read_ through _yet_ another duplication process is also irrelevant. We can already give industrial robots computerized drawings of a lot of things and they will happily reproduce them faithfully. The _amount_ of work that goes into the duplication process is completely immaterial. The fact that _some_ work is required is the essential issue. /// -- Norway is now run by a priest from the fundamentalist Christian People's Party, the fifth largest party representing one eighth of the electorate. -- Carrying a Swiss Army pocket knife in Oslo, Norway, is a criminal offense.