Ever since reading Shannon’s paper on “information entropy” from the late 1940s somewhere in the 1990s in my early 20s, I became fascinated with the redundancy built into language and in information in general.
The redundancy in information is the reason that you can understand someone speaking to you even over a really bad connection : It’s due to the redundancy built into the very language itself, with lots of padding and “excess” so that if information flow is imperfect and full of errors, which is often is, you can expect a high level of comprehension even under the worst of conditions.
This has led to our abilities in data compression for example.
It’s also naturally how our brains work, compressing all of the uniqueness of our experiences into smaller, idealized patterns that we can then uncompress / unfold within our brains, either automatically or with reasoning / hunches.
So I’ve been taking a picture of me to the brink of recognizable using various tools in my paint program. [just paint . NET]
So far, this is as “minimal” I can take the information from the original picture before I no longer recognize myself.
I look at this and I know it’s *probably* me. It *could* be somebody else but even if it’s somebody else, it’s somebody else who bears a striking resemblance to me as I see myself.
Some aspects surprise me of course. From this more minimal view with less redundancy, features that I otherwise ignore come into sharp focus. All the parts in relation to each other, their relative sizes and distances I can finally really “see”.
What will I do with this information? I don’t know yet.