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Author Topic: The Library Of Babel  (Read 762 times)

Mandle

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The Library Of Babel
« on: 03 Sep 2018, 16:43 »
I just found out about this mind-blowing website today and plugged in my short-story entry in the FWC round of "Beautiful Brevity" to see if the library already contained it.

AND IT DID!!!

It already mathematically pre-existed in the library before I even wrote it on page 221 of Volume 25 (named: "mvsrimwrar") in Shelf #3 on Wall #3 in the Hexagon room called:

mv2q04urafam7o1u8poq6oe48hkitmi5g1tu6ec bp7jmvvazl4zff8fpi2afwosicvonmfx1a0nmtx 9w8yo7j5v3cz36use36ytur6rz9f8y9v9jdwghl nyfgqnq62rwojuvs4psh2iyv3w1e3baauccfnoj 06i1s0e0ijzesakersxj02xfb5ilpa7rd8h9kws rmforisopb1z1qf37hsuy2igokn46yz0o50xisc m9ov8ivl7lmuzzijn8wkx9xmaj5hobctyyakh25 dgt72bzzira942h0oinnxorw4f8dfb31ekgiolf vetuclspzol8c52khpkrj3flxwwr2izb0qqhr1o qyo30i28t59vwew4ah1l6tfevt1vwjcf3k47k7m hq84me1tag8mhhepsjog8dyuigoxev8equ3gfjv qpk32v5n7o9wnq5d55kiharvdg3mjslmbzmahjv q8rzy19guryr584hwfkg6h9sfrgmq062sp2fu99 ow957sj7yjfqnndad35zwv4qofsacpekdp8jqgb xyqld5byw0anyj36s0aek4lr1xrz7vhfje6l9b1 067i67mht1uqkgs44jx2s9feqmuy42xiod7ge83 2gj2k4d7zzjadi8trzhq8jntbtgzm1uvyxmzpj5 fnau0x0zj6zjld0tbv26yor54cda4glhrz0k68o ozyf3wsjsld8jlmfis7xrxfdppq5bkfo3815cs4 i2j978asn4fmtpao53nupepy29l0ucryq53050m afcel3ek5q6x5gkhua24u31ilf6kw4rz39zr5e4 qqozmbzlmpygemxwyewqpipmkk70w3x6tlyyjrk 55ixv3pf3d9i4s3dfp2sr26o0y74v76zzseyxqh 6h6bpzkzjqfat3qs8d1tdfaik4hmeijd8csc7l5 awag3c46m7kpmg70efpy4ojz51une3q9gfsxcq1 4vl6530rhpfbb712cnlmi65jwrd219xd0hht5b5 6fgyj4xhegys6lav5jcn43gi1yoqnzdk4x3v6w4 quby3uu43vmwo2ciffee1md3ca3ubcxbu7pkv4a vrja2deozivmbfb4ha5oe89bmlc4d1pgcxaoost rg7601rte3i6gteoyl38hmf5zc0qem3lwk9gp55 06itfpuofj3wucnq3pi4zmm1h61gp6ay748qgob nv9tlpyoe2t5qew1exv6192e2wv4r4l6qgzqriz 8q3c5ntenqvr8xnmk3uwdi23gxwnbro3pexg7uj 0yh28rs8tp3rnpr9z94r2a1sjy171lsk8g0gmjo id7tg6b2fz3t26r2nv7vdrx5tgohvtn9ec90x7u 0bstp1wzh9t8s2zxfs1gf1ozz5l8j5p78h5sxgb 7j2xw22g01ubs48kn50xn9ox7y9vhejvhigdy3o pyzxbriy5pibhnkvr3bc9i435xa7vi62neifv9o zdes4b1r0uiddv34nogxzf5tidn780r683gqc3g zfiiwviab14xg85i4q7bvwd8p2qqmq2rpdnhk9t zug3wgkykku67fycf8f59edvtcpq1q7w50d04yo j2tgo8lh9ygl9wrerha8sqffk3kaz0mn9jp2765 3biv4qfzpe2evka15gpkuhnbdkx0qj00tc5i68t vy2gsq4zr1jxmp8ybx2ckm87vm9ajjviddh6yf6 v0zjdkzggzdk8d8hs8tr6niaort5zygu5cu61gv vvavub45xndvhmuzuih6jelc1npswvgbotet5xf 6tgobocsazncu3825wwdry8mmkmvtz1qiyjdjem 721e0cds95luph4um9l1pzgao3t0ljywtncs5iu r1q7xxdzsg0g5i96moamcrcdu1iiwp00lo3k7q7 llucqj9zujk12mjw8axn6s5ekr4prcrg9fchi2z i3m3kgfsvpi9s9kp8xxihez8isx2n4tbe4ys8pe 21lvpdxtejki7nw1uvbbe3c6ay1tskuttiv7p2d ujikk91v3ztq4qep5er7rpr9f46yp2dpf9az3n0 iw7m9cqe17lob3csil3desaijszbbebotsnp1au j83knsa4pubqc20fllrgdfijg4zhb3sdm5kfquc im45kpqqb838ttoiuyc1dj6ke3eon8tl7c64f31 i9onmwptanw0d2tckj4e7413of4mkuu7y88a5wk ekgft2zqgiij9bay8f4nitag1ost3cewcgmc7i6 21qcid5pj01j9ze98j2icqc5wd1tp34h92b3u9t oxf8a8g80gzv6qe5yu2dy2h8i4uapfy231asu6t l4soct3poxvcl139fad1hp1gp91i0c2v3qwpaid 0hqod07ipbz84va70apbd27hue33cz8tdu5en5a t6fa7439zvd77is1u2n89e6in9zsqgab8gl66e4 61vtyj47hul5yzt7mjnzxx7immmpdz3h0yuatxc qk7uzk0bvronj3evxy9r05gapxjr5rjo8ojsuac ayu6v6p4wqcgoztalpo9ixbykdmt4gqel7rzx8d ibselej3nsp8btunn99j95bj6k312rl1j4nmm9k cfdmpqffovtd3ku02zykwyypocta4oqvx164a4f fk4o11dnlictlpwfa7pj7ec7shjyo1nes30cgxy mgxgbdmdcuk5br7fhc9e1xweqo1rkn1mzzhar86 now7nvfjno6a6hb0oji3a66ndddx5koimultsgw 5m9pmlru6qzhvsvw3io00rm6crz4shzesj922rb 6cgqeho6g16pdvfw9jkk8y8ayenb7yfm9hyscxy 64vnqsi3whnnzrxpnrm2t0nrnwhv8k5ny9jmen7 0ta8kn78xr36ox35btc7vsnmvmoknvxhfe2yxei n0zwjt890jiwytqpxp59db72w0kdaxevlqn5kvc qni6kspy8gpd9yg4gvkm46bvbmxh0rvxaj61ewv 74fe4sowqvwfz4h8xf30io8gzw9t1qaxepecnfv chzj2gws4bj7gh40rhm3n6cnlf85hzn8tqz4u9b dc9lvk6e4q94pv3zrqlc9lzw95vxqgzri0fz6aj d3bxt175dlv2sndzr5d8g4pccg3kcfu6w1w3jem jsdy44sh6sobneyve0grhbq8wtw4ulhmpkeoyoy l0gt76n7gd23ujdhhkirdbol7ngu7ctsh8rjx9j uns1h3mhynxnmqw9

Now, you could think that the room name is just a coded version of my story, being actually longer than the story is.

But that's not how the library works.

It can handle searches up to 3200 characters and calculates every single possible combination of the 26 letters of the alphabet plus commas, fullstops, and spaces contained within 3200 characters.

So literally (hehe) anything that can be written within these 3200 characters must appear in the library.

This means that every single thing that has ever been written or said (in English) must be contained within the library's set of data.

Which means that every book by, let's say, Stephen King, is contained within the library, fragmented into 3200 character-long sections, granted, and each 3200 character sections would have to be found in different volumes.

But, this also means that every book that Stephen King never wrote, and yet written in his distinct style, is also hidden somewhere within the library.

And, this also means that every version of every book Stephen King wrote, or did not get around to writing (yet), also exists within the library, except with a single typo... and also versions exist with 2 typos... and also with the main character's name switched consistantly to a different name... or a name with one single typo in it once... or twice... or...

BOOM! MIND BLOWN!

Somewhere in this library are versions of the Twilight Saga that are actually good. Or Harry Potter books that end where Voldermort wins...

Actually, just go ahead and rewrite the ending to Harry Potter (up to 3200 characters), and search that, and you will find the exact book and page(s) in the library that your version already exists on, written purely by mathematics and pre-existing as a result of the way our universe works since the big-bang happened.

Of course, the same effect happens if you assign the numbers of Pi to letters, but it's not as searchable as The Library Of Babel. You can only go a few billion numbers into Pi on the websites that I know of and can only find very brief phrases like your name.

Have a browse of the library if interested. It's awesome and disturbing!
« Last Edit: 03 Sep 2018, 17:04 by Mandle »

KyriakosCH

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Re: The Library Of Babel
« Reply #1 on: 03 Sep 2018, 17:08 »
I know (a bit) of that site (and know the story by Borges :) )

I think that they have combinations up to some number of characters, but this doesn't include anything past those; i mean, it couldn't really include the actual number of books in the Library of Babel in the story, which do indeed cover all variations of the 26 (iirc) symbols used for the writing.
If the limit is (eg, as you said) 3200 characters, i suppose this just means it doesn't cover anything which has 3201 and more.
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Re: The Library Of Babel
« Reply #2 on: 03 Sep 2018, 17:12 »
I'm just wondering how this is different to the infinite monkeys (with typewriters) theory? It seems like pretty much the same thing to me though I have to admit to only giving it a cursory inspection.

KyriakosCH

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Re: The Library Of Babel
« Reply #3 on: 03 Sep 2018, 17:17 »
I'm just wondering how this is different to the infinite monkeys (with typewriters) theory? It seems like pretty much the same thing to me though I have to admit to only giving it a cursory inspection.

Afaik the site is just about presenting the (many) different cases for arrangement of symbols, tied to letters, for anything up to x number of characters. It isn't about infinity; afaik it is a presentation of all the different cases in probability. Eg (not saying they do this exactly) if you have 24 letters (example) and then the symbols "." and ",", and the empty space, that would make 27 characters in total. Now if you want to find out how many different cases of 3200 character arrangements can happen, with at most 27 different characters, that is (iirc) 27^3200 (cause each space can have any one of 27 symbols). If there were only 2 symbols, and 3 spaces, the result would be 2 times 2 times 2. Now it is 27 times 27 times .... for 3200 parts of this progression.
A very large number, but obviously not the one of the books in the story "The Library of Babel", by Borges, nor an infinite one.

If the site also shows any grouping that has UP TO 3200 characters (ie it can have 0-3200), then i suppose the complete number of variations is 3201 (ie 3200 different cases, and the empty set 0) times 27times27times...(for 3200 positions).

Don't quote me on this, but it is likely something like that one :)
« Last Edit: 03 Sep 2018, 17:33 by KyriakosCH »
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Mandle

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Re: The Library Of Babel
« Reply #4 on: 04 Sep 2018, 00:28 »
Pretty much, except it's a lot more compact.

It takes the basic index number of the location and runs that through an algorithm to produce a unique and very big number which it then converts to base 29 so that every "digit" can be translated into a letter, sace, full-stop, or comma.

Or something like that.

As for books with up to 3200 characters: as spaces are considered characters these are all included. This is the case with my story I tested above. It exists first and "alone" on its page because all of the characters following the end are spaces.

There must also be a page where the first character is a space, followed by my story, and then followed by all spaces until the end of the page. And another where the child was chasing a balloon or a pet instead of a ball. And another where... etc.

KyriakosCH

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Re: The Library Of Babel
« Reply #5 on: 04 Sep 2018, 10:06 »
:)

Which still won't include all works that have anything more than 3200 characters.
An example where this is easy to see: assume a book had the first 3200+ x characters be all: "one half of/ one half of/ one half of/ ...". This would require the next 3200 to be tied to the first if you were going to have the book exist in its true form. Now just imagine a book (given supposedly this collection would include all possible books) that has as many characters as the total of characters included in all 3200 segments this library has (which is perfectly doable; those are finite). This in effect would mean that if that book was contained in this library then no other book would :)

Borges' story works because in it each book is only ONE work*. The number of books there is far bigger (character/volume wise) than in this site with the 3200 character segments. With current computer power we cannot have a similar number.

*Of course Borges' story also defines a set type/size for the book, but at least there it is supposed to be metaphorical; the entire library is the Cosmos.
« Last Edit: 04 Sep 2018, 10:12 by KyriakosCH »
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Mandle

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Re: The Library Of Babel
« Reply #6 on: 04 Sep 2018, 13:11 »
True, but the complete works larger than 3200 words must still exist, except spread over many seperate volumes.

KyriakosCH

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Re: The Library Of Babel
« Reply #7 on: 04 Sep 2018, 13:18 »
True, but the complete works larger than 3200 words must still exist, except spread over many seperate volumes.

They won't exist in this site's collection, though. Borges got the idea (partly) from the 1001 Arabian nights, where famously the storyteller deliberately makes her story feature an infinite repeat of the same phrase (about an ant that enters a storge place and takes a grain of food out, then the next one enters, etc). Likewise, regardless of how large (but still finite) the number of total characters the collection of all books in a site has, those still may not even cover one theoretical book with more characters than all of those, and those characters repeating the same phrase (or even the same letter, eg aaaaaaaaa and so on; i just gave an example with 1/2 of 1/2 of 1/2 cause that actually has specific sense, to be altered if you limit the characters :) ).

PS: in Borges's story, "The library of Babel", it is possible that the library itself repeats itself after all possible books (finite) are covered. Again, in a site you can't do that.

More directly put: if any two books are allowed to be the exact same (eg 1/2 of 1/2 of 1/2 etc), then you would need to also include all same cases allowed. But if your full number of sets is finite (the number of all 3200 character cases, in this site) you obviously will always be unable to include repeating books beyond a set size. In Borges' story, again, it is specifically mentioned that "no two books are completely the same".
« Last Edit: 04 Sep 2018, 13:26 by KyriakosCH »
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Kweepa

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Re: The Library Of Babel
« Reply #8 on: 04 Sep 2018, 15:23 »
Now, you could think that the room name is just a coded version of my story, being actually longer than the story is.

But that's not how the library works.
Are you sure?
To store all combinations up to 55 characters would take about 1.3 x 10^85 bytes, more than there are atoms in the universe.
To store all combinations up to 3200 characters, 1.5 x 10^4683. This number is just stupidly large.
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Mandle

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Re: The Library Of Babel
« Reply #9 on: 04 Sep 2018, 15:56 »
True, but the complete works larger than 3200 words must still exist, except spread over many seperate volumes.

They won't exist in this site's collection, though. Borges got the idea (partly) from the 1001 Arabian nights, where famously the storyteller deliberately makes her story feature an infinite repeat of the same phrase (about an ant that enters a storge place and takes a grain of food out, then the next one enters, etc). Likewise, regardless of how large (but still finite) the number of total characters the collection of all books in a site has, those still may not even cover one theoretical book with more characters than all of those, and those characters repeating the same phrase (or even the same letter, eg aaaaaaaaa and so on; i just gave an example with 1/2 of 1/2 of 1/2 cause that actually has specific sense, to be altered if you limit the characters :) ).

PS: in Borges's story, "The library of Babel", it is possible that the library itself repeats itself after all possible books (finite) are covered. Again, in a site you can't do that.

More directly put: if any two books are allowed to be the exact same (eg 1/2 of 1/2 of 1/2 etc), then you would need to also include all same cases allowed. But if your full number of sets is finite (the number of all 3200 character cases, in this site) you obviously will always be unable to include repeating books beyond a set size. In Borges' story, again, it is specifically mentioned that "no two books are completely the same".

The creator's algorithm for each book location does not allow for any two books to be exactly the same, at least from what I understand about how it works.

So every book must be the even slightest bit different.

When you say that continuations of any book over 3200 characters do not exist in this library you are wrong.

EVERY possible 3200 character combination exists within the library:

Which means that every possible story up until 3200 characters exists somewhere, and also that that story's continuation also exists somewhere, except seperate.

The 3200 character limit is probably a result of how far search technology can go so far (I'm probably wrong on the reason for this limit).

Each time you search for anything the search engine is searching through 1^5000 (a 1 with 5000 zeroes written after it) possible results.

Mandle

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Re: The Library Of Babel
« Reply #10 on: 04 Sep 2018, 16:33 »
To store all combinations up to 3200 characters, 1.5 x 10^4683. This number is just stupidly large.

Yes, but the library doesn't actually store every single case. It solidly mathematically restores each possible case through an algorithm from the basic assumption that at least one book in the library has a single possible rearangement of the english alphabet (plus simple punctuation) in it.

In fact, the whole thing is downloadable and isn't very big at all.

This means that in "most" (I don't think anyone knows how many exactly) of 10^5000 cases you would have to "search" for a specific text to find a readable section, but that in however many other cases than "most" you could "browse" (and you can browse as much as you could ever endure on the site) for a start-to-finish masterpiece of a book (well, short story at the moment: up to 3200 characters) that nobody ever wrote, nor has ever been read before.

Now, that's probably never going to happen if humans are browsing the library. The chances of finding an understandable 3200 (or less) story at our reading and searching speed in infintesimal...

But what if there was an AI that could understand a book's narrative to the point where it could search the library (or future, bigger versions) for start-to-finish cohesive stories and tag them for humans to read and consider?

What stories could we find?

Well, we could find every book that Hemingway never wrote but exactly in his style:

Stephen King, and yes I like his writing and his depth of understanding of the art of storytelling and also his depth of understanding his own failings, once attemped a few first lines in Hemingway's style which I think are perfect, but he didn't continue the impersonation beyond that except to say that the book's plot was about an aging (maybe dying) hunter that used dogs as one of his tools of the trade (I really want to read that book!):

Here is that exact quote (which you can also find in The Library Of Babel, of course, and possibly the entire book(s) if you wamted to spend eternity looking for them (please tell me if you find one though. I really want to read that (those) book! (books!)):

“A man’s life was five dogs long, Cortland believed. The first was the one that taught you. The second was the one you taught. The third and fourth were the ones you worked. The last was the one that outlived you. That was the winter dog. Cortland’s winter dog had no name. He thought of it only as the scarecrow dog…”


Coincidentally, these lines appear in Mr. King's story about a man who has access to every library ever written in every possible version of our world, via a cross-dimensional rift that the Kindle he ordered and ended up with came through... (the rest of the story is pretty lame though, very disappointing basic time-travel bullshit... such a shame, as is often the case with Stephen King story endings that started with exciting concepts).
 
Could this be the start of the death of human-based story telling and eventually the birth of us just listening to new stories like children provided by AI storytellers?

Maybe? Probably not though... at least not on the current level that we understand fiction.

In my above case of the unwritten potential Hemingway novel about the hunter and his dogs:

Well, each of the almost infinite versions of the novel could be told to me by this fictional AI, but I would end up trusting none of them.

None of them were written by Hemingway. He is dead.

A lot of them could be very, very good stories. Some could be mind-blowingly good!

But they are also not written by the human being that was Hemingway.

I, for one, do not want to experience just "really good stories" even if they are amazing unless they were written by an actual human being who has had actual experiences and, therefore, a position they are writing from.

In the future though, who knows?

I could be just shouting "GET OFF MY LAWN!!!" with this post to future generations who enjoy AI writing as superior to human...

Ummmm... what was this thread about, again.....?
« Last Edit: 04 Sep 2018, 17:15 by Mandle »

KyriakosCH

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Re: The Library Of Babel
« Reply #11 on: 04 Sep 2018, 17:07 »
(sorry, I think that by this point I am just theorising, so I will stop (laugh) )
« Last Edit: 04 Sep 2018, 17:49 by KyriakosCH »
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