[NetBehaviour] exist.pl and communication, what next?

Pall Thayer pallthay at gmail.com
Wed Jul 30 16:01:35 CEST 2008

clemos wrote:
> Hi Pall
> It would be logical to me that your program respond its own source code.
> It can be seen as a way to express itself, and probably be
> misunderstood, but also to survive by duplicating itself.
That's a good point. I like it and I've now incorporated it but haven't 
checked it into the Google code repository. I'll let everyone know when 
I have.
> Actually, I still don't really get why it just "recreates" itself in
> the end as a way to survive, because a better survival method would be
> to spread like a virus. I think duplication and awareness of its
> multiplicity could bring good perspectives to your experiment, while
> still keeping the "simple" essence approach.
Ah you know, these things are always crystal clear when you're not 
sitting in front of a computer. For instance when I'm waiting for the 
bus in the morning, I've got it all figured out. But give me a few 
minutes and let me try to recall... Ok (now I remember), effectively the 
program shouldn't be able to do anything about dying. It could attempt 
to avoid being killed by capturing signals as Rob had suggested, but if 
something has already killed it or voided its existence (deleted the 
file), in human terms it shouldn't be able to do anything about it. 
However, it's not human and it CAN in fact recreate itself in the face 
of a threat to its being. It recreates itself because it can. The reason 
it dies after recreating itself is that the running process is no longer 
a product of the existing file. So the "state of being" has been 
compromised. There's no longer the same relation between the "existence" 
(the file) and the "state of being" (the process). It gets a bit 
complicated here because of the fact that a computer program such as 
this one can run independently of the file from which it was started. In 
our case, although some like to believe otherwise, you can't maintain a 
"state of being" if someone removes your physical body.

The viral issue is a touchy one. Not a decision to be taken lightly.

Thanks a lot for the comments. They really help.


> ++++++++
> Clément
> On Mon, Jul 28, 2008 at 11:36 PM, Pall Thayer <pallthay at gmail.com> wrote:
>> (ps. I'm now posting these to both Rhizome and Netbehaviour. My
>> apologies to anyone who receives them twice.)
>> The latest revision to exist.pl has opened a whole new can of beans.
>> Since it is now capable of receiving communication from other
>> processes it will inevitably have to respond and that's the tricky
>> part. How does a process that is just beginning to experiment with an
>> awareness of anything at all, respond to anything at all? It makes no
>> attempt to understand the message being conveyed or even who it's
>> coming from. It would be great to get some feedback on this. Of
>> course, my first inclination is to just have it respond to anything
>> with a full dump of its entire "awareness". Well, no. My first
>> inclination was to have it respond to anything by outputting the full
>> path to the file (its "existence") and its process ID (its "state of
>> being") but when you think about it, there's really nothing to
>> indicate to exist.pl that those two bits of information would mean
>> anything to anyone else.
>> Pall
>> --
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>> Pall Thayer
>> artist
>> http://www.this.is/pallit
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