What is a Compression Addict?

Posted 2014-03-09 by Matt Way

To put it as simply as I can, compression is just the way of representing something with less information than is currently representing it. Boring? Well would you believe me if I told you that this basic idea is the source of most of the joy and struggle of all our lives?

You see, compression, or compressing is something humans do or seek out from the moment they are born. It is the drive behind every idea, understanding and unknown. Before I explain in any more detail, watch the video below first, and be smacked with some wisdom.

Condensed Version (20 min) of Jürgen Schmidhuber's talk at the Singularity Summit: Compression Progress Drives Art & Science from MIRI on Vimeo.

So compression is something our brains do. Hopefully you have had one of those Aha moments in your life, when it felt like all the pieces of some particular puzzle fell together. This is the feeling I am addicted to. The art of abstraction. That magnificent high you receive when you solve a problem, have a brilliant idea, or go toe to toe with your existential insignificance. I am a slave to this process. I am a compression addict.