PROPOSALS TOWARD THE END OF WRITING

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NOTES AND ERRATA

[1] There are other approaches—for example, a crowdsourced database of alternatives could exist. But who’d construct that database? It could be harvested from an online game similar to the satirical TrademarkVille, in which players formulate with compound-word alternatives for common words (like “longblade” instead of “sword”), or guess the meaning of user-submitted synonyms. A rating system could further quantify the appropriateness of the synonym.

[2] Chris Westbury, the creator of JanusNode, has contributed the only Amazon review to date, whose text is fittingly supplied by JanusNode: “This work, at once glowing and expressionist, brings into our awareness the impactful harmony of psychoanalysis, represented here as a pointillist mixing of blood-letting and an inability to listen to others…” His rating: five stars.

[3] A university study demonstrated that real-life monkeys will mostly type the letter S and smash the typewriter with a rock and “use it as a lavatory.”

[4] (or 127 characters to include the basic ASCII set)

[5] Fittingly, the same principle invites us to see the universe as fundamentally comprised not of matter and energy, but of information.

[6] It’s fun to wonder exactly how the Library of Babel’s searchers even codified a written language to begin with, given that nobody seems to write and the books follow no coherent rules. Though the narrator leaves open every possibility that the story itself hasn’t been written at all, and is just one of the found texts within the Library.

[7] We’re concerning ourselves mainly with fiction and poetry, since the burden of fact-checking involved in producing viable non-fiction is impractical. However, if algorithmically generated non-fiction caught on, it might simply relieve the genre of its cumbersome expectations of factuality and frankness, to whatever extent these expectations exist.

[8] Consider that computers are already doing the most of the reading and writing: every email that’s sent, every word published in print or online is processed and indexed by computers, and an estimated 97% of all emails are computer-generated spam, most of which is “read” and filtered out by other computers; data-scraped websites and autogenerated content comprise ever-larger percentages of the Internet. And why exclude the huge amount of machine code that’s read when executing the most basic of operations, just because it’s not human-legible?