No free ride for semiosis

There is no free ride for semiosis. Signs have a cost and a carbon footprint. Sign processes, in any form we can observe them, consume energy and produce heat.
Energetic and caloric constraints are generally overlooked in semiotic theorizing which is long on hot air and short on metrics. To the extent that we operate within the range of the social network to which our biosemiotic hardware is adapted, we are not aware of these bio-economic conditions and the thresholds they imply. It is enough to take a break after a tiring conversation or to rest after a lecture for our system to cool down. But when we move from face-to-face interaction to global face-book networking or from horse driven postal messaging to texting and cloud writing, the consumption of energy and the heat generated by semiosis increase exponentially and become not only an economic but also an ecological problem.
The semiotic understanding of life and society must factor this bio-economic metrics if it is to escape the frivolous discourse of the philosophy of signs.

Paul Bouissac, Hot Signs, in SemiotiX Online issue 15 (just out).

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