Emmy Noether on DRM

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Alex Na:
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Emmy Noether!

Emmy, It is an honor for us to have you here. You have not been very public in recent years.

Emmy Noether:
Thank you for having me here.
Alex Na:
Emmy, let’s talk about that publication of yours.

For those who don’t know, the article was titled “On asymmetry in the noosphere” and you can find it in The Bryn Mawr Scientific Journal for February 2007.

That article produced quite a buzz. Activists of so called People Against DRM movement claim that you mathematically proved that information of any kind should be open, free and freely distributed.

Emmy Noether:
No, no, that would be an exaggeration. I only pointed to some essential properties of the noosphere taken as a mathematical object.
Alex Na:
Could you explain to us, what you found.
Emmy Noether:
The first observation I made was that the world of people’s thoughts and ideas, as a mathematical system, does not have all the necessities to derive a conservation law. So there is no conservation law for so called non-shannonian information. The world of physical things has a conservation law, but the world of ideas doesn’t. That might sound difficult, but the idea behind it is quite simple. If I give you, lets say, my glasses, I won’t have them anymore; you will. But if I give you an idea of, let’s say, an encryption algorithm, then we will both have that idea.
Alex Na:
Yes, that sounds quite obvious.
Emmy Noether:
Money is an interesting system. The conservation law for money is maintained artificially. Because the conservation law is in place, we can perform transformations from products to money and vice versa in a symmetric way. In other words, you can reflect one system to another.
Alex Na:
But it doesn’t work for ideas, right?
Emmy Noether:
No, it does not. The properties of the systems are so different that you simply cannot reflect one in the other.
Alex Na:
Interesting. But what about DRM? Doesn’t it solve that problem?
Emmy Noether:
I do not think so. The DRM approach is different, it tries to prevent the transformation itself, it does not change the fundamental nature of the system.
Alex Na:
Emmy, would it be correct to say that nothing related to the people’s thoughts or ideas can be sold?
Emmy Noether:
Interestingly enough, no. For example, public attention complies with the conservation law, so it can be easily sold.
Alex Na:
Yes, of course, if you grab more public attention today, then someone gets less. Interesting.
Emmy Noether:
That explains the latest business trends, when companies capitalize on public attention, not on the content they produce. In a sense, for such companies, PR is their sales.
Alex Na:
Thank you, Emmy. Emmy Noether, everybody!

One Response to “Emmy Noether on DRM”

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