Of course, information existed before Shannon, just as objects had inertia before Newton. But before Shannon, there was precious little sense of information as an idea, a measurable quantity, an object fitted out for hard science. Before Shannon, information was a telegram, a photograph, a paragraph, a song. After Shannon, information was entirely abstracted into bits. The sender no longer mattered, the intent no longer mattered, the medium no longer mattered, not even the meaning mattered: A phone conversation, a snatch of Morse telegraphy, a page from a detective novel were all brought under a common code. Just as geometers subjected a circle in the sand and the disk of the sun to the same laws, and as physicists subjected the sway of a pendulum and the orbits of the planets to the same laws, Claude Shannon made our world possible by getting at the essence of information.
Tuesday, September 5th, 2017
Saturday, April 30th, 2016
A lovely profile of Claude Shannon (concluding with an unexpected Brighton connection).
Sunday, June 29th, 2014
A short film about Claude Shannon and Information Theory — not exactly as in-depth as James Gleick’s The Information, but it does a nice job of encapsulating the fundamental idea.