"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Sunday, December 13, 2020

The Origins of Writing: Where Would Our Modern World Be Without Alphabet Inventors? The Example of David W. Packard, Co-Founder of Hewlett-Packard [or did Google say "Alphabet"?]

Humans have been "inventing" things long before intellectual property law, and we are all the benefactors of what humankind has invented over the millennia.

Our interest in innovation extends far into our ancient human past, especially as concerns e.g. the origin of writing, without which our modern world would be impossible.

Just how was writing "invented"?
We have some ideas about that. See:

Below is an excerpt from Ancient Signs: The Alphabet & the Origins of Writing:

"The importance of the study of the origins of writing -- a fascinating field in its own right -- is often underestimated.
 
The ancient signs of written scripts manifest a communication technology not unlike that used by modern "high tech". It is not surprising, for example, that someone like David W. Packard, co-founder of computer giant Hewlett-Packard Co., wrote his college dissertation on Minoan Linear A, an undeciphered written script of Crete. [Footnote: David W. Packard, Minoan Linear A, University of California Press in Berkeley, California, 1974.]

Computer hardware and digital devices operate by means of software that is coded by signs which convert human language information into machine language. Ancient signs similarly converted spoken language into written language with the result that human communication expanded exponentially. Literacy brought humanity into a richer world.

Indeed, modern communication -- even at the simplest level -- depends a great deal on written language literacy by everyone.

Just think of social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter or [did someone at Google just say Alphabet]? All depend on the written word.

The written word not only communicates, but also permits recordation of human expression and knowledge for posterity, whether this be on paper, on microfilm, or as CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs or future technologies for the storage of digital materials. Written information is thereby communicated not only by letters and the written word in alphabetic writing, but also by logograms, such as Chinese characters, or by various combinations of numbers and symbols, such as mathematical expressions.

Written signs and symbols permit the creation of special types of "languages" whose function far exceeds the limits set by audible human speech. Modern software programming languages are a good example of this phenomenon.

The discovery of script had far-reaching consequences for everyday human life on our planet, initiating massive cultural changes which no one could have foreseen in early eras. With the onset of writing, mankind obtained a “history”, that started about 3200 B.C. Today, without writing, the mass of humanity would still languish in ignorance, as it still does in some regions of the Earth marked by widespread illiteracy. For those who do learn to read and write, the written word can open up magic worlds of individual potential and a seemingly endless reservoir of human talents and abilities from which most of us on this planet Earth profit every day.

Whatever the origins of writing may be, we are all indebted to the men and women who invented, introduced and dispersed this new technology to the world. These were great inventors indeed, and we should all know more about them."

Read and enjoy the whole book! Click that link.

We are miles ahead of the competition in analysis.