### 2005-04-27

## dW3 that works

We say that language works because we can, at least most of the time, understand each other, and mathematics works because we multiply and divide entities with confidence that the answers will be correct. If you explain something for me, then I can perhaps fit that together with something else I know and formulate an opinion, or ask someone to do something for me based on your explanation, without resorting to numerical calculation.

I might have a book on my shelf containing all sorts of interesting W3. I can take it down and read that Damascus is the capital of Syria and lies to the south. I have another book next to the first and I can take it down and read that Syria is mostly landlocked, with only a short patch of Mediterranean coast line in the North. Someone asks me if the Syrian capital has a nice harbour and I answer that it seems not to be the case from what I have read.

Now lets say I also have on my shelf a stack of little formulas like л = 3 and the square root of X, and someone writes me a letter and asks if I know what the square root of 529 times л is. I take down the two appropriate formulas and I figure out that the answer is 69. I write that down and send it back to my friend. So far, these examples are similar. In both cases I looked up relevant data and came up with an answer. Of course, I wasn’t totally sure about Damascus, north and south can sort of bleed into each other, and I only assumed that a town without an ocean wouldn’t have a harbour.

Suppose I take all my books and formulas and transfer them into dW3 and keep them on my computer. My computer already has a function for finding the square root of a number and it also has a value for л, though it is not 3, even if the old testament thinks so, my computer doesn’t. Now, when asked the same questions all over again, I will have an easier time of it – I can use my search tool to find all references to Damascus quickly – and as for the math problem, well I merely have to submit the appropriate numbers to my software calculator.

As long as problems are couched in terms that can be interworked with numbers and logic, my computer can easily and unambiguously deal with them, but problems or queries framed in natural language are another matter. Even if I have hundreds of volumes in my computer pertaining to Syria, if the information stored, or the questions asked can not be framed in logic and numbers, I am not going to get straight answers. I ask if Damascus has a harbour, but since it really isn’t on the ocean the chances that some text actually would bother to say that Damascus has no harbour is small. Even if that information was available how could I frame the question to address it and receive a correct answer? Unless W3 is formulated in something computers can unambiguously calculate with it *doesn’t count*.

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