Computer programming is an awesome system, look at the world around us and tell me what you think. Of all the awesome ways we have applied computer programming the most important is the possibility of building real Strong artificial intelligence.
Starting from simple lumped matter abstractions like transistors we have been able to build a huge global computing infrastructure that has improved our earthly existence in many ways. But what I want to bring our attention to currently is that the process of abstraction through which we built this infrastructure can also inform us as to the fundamental nature of the physical universe and even our intelligence.
A symbol is a representation of some underlying complexity. It compresses information by allowing us to deal with a more compact representation of some underlying structure than the whole structure itself.