Can you imagine routing information without any fixed protocols?
- Seems there always has to be some lower-level underlying substrate eg. an alphabet or set of phonemes for communication to work with. (OnWritingAndAlphabets)
- But maybe you can allow higher level constructs to rewrite the rules for / reprogram the lower level sub-strate. For example, a higher level language could define the rules for inventing new characters. It's a kind of TopDownCausation.
- InteroperabilityCanProceedWithoutPairwiseCooperation might be relevant. (Hence also EmergentData / LateBinding, LazyEvaluation)
- Also reminds me of Gnomic, the game where you can keep adding new rules. But this has to be allowed to change the rules.
- OTOH, of course, maybe the universe ultimately bottoms out as fundamental bits of information :-)
Is there an analogy here to the EvolutionOfLanguages? One could propose that while Europeans and Scandinavians and etc all use the same alphabet (give or take some cedillas, et al) they certainly have different languages. But over time, these languages have merged and mingled to produce (roughly) what we call English (side note: perhaps the popularity of English is due, in part to its roots in all other languages, so everyone identifies with something in it?), which could therefore be considered an Emergent Language.
Also been thinking a fair bit recently about the MeaningOfSymbols, which is kind of attached - for a protocol to emerge, the network must come to some kind of agreement over what symbol stands for what, but in the end the decision is somewhat arbitrary. Naturally, a network using this would be rather segregated at first (which is a possible BarrierToEntry), but would grow increasingly stable over time, potentially. The rate at which it grew stable would probably depend on FactorsOfPropagation.
There was a neat experiment a few years ago to get software agents at various sites to develop their own language (by conveying what they see at a site using "random" words, then memorising the words used by and spoken to them). Think it might have had something to do with Sony, I'll try and dig up a link.