57 min

Claude Shannon: The Story of How One Man Created the Information Age | Jimmy Soni Hidden Forces

    • Business

In Episode 47 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Jimmy Soni about the father of Information Theory, Claude Shannon, and Shannon’s foundational work, A Mathematical Theory of Communication.
The 20th century is known as the information age, and for a good reason. It is a period that is dominated by knowledge and data. It’s an era in which the economy is no longer driven by traditional industries — such as construction, manufacturing, or agriculture — but by advanced information technologies that store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data.
This revolution finds its roots in Information Theory. And remarkably, it is a theory that was developed by one man: Claude Shannon.
Before Shannon, society had a rather immature understanding of what information was. Information was understood as something immaterial and intangible. It was not seen as something that could be touched or manipulated. It was assumed that the only way to send information (intelligence, as it was then referred to) across a greater distance was to “boost” the signal by using more power. This was a notoriously imperfect system, as it increased the amount of “noise” that was received and made the message more difficult to discern.
In his foundational work, A Mathematical Theory of Communication, Shannon solved this issue and presented a completely new way of understanding information. He showed that information isn’t insubstantial, but something that we can measure and manipulate — something that has physical characteristics and can be quantified. Shannon also created a diagram which showed that all information has certain, set components — such as a source, a transmitter, a recipient, and so on. As such, not only did he show that information is something that can be made material, through his work, Shannon proved that all information (be it a radio signal, a photo, or a song) can be governed through a set of common laws.
In short, he turned information into something that can be computed and reliably transmitted, laying the foundation for the digital revolution.
Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas
Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou
Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

In Episode 47 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Jimmy Soni about the father of Information Theory, Claude Shannon, and Shannon’s foundational work, A Mathematical Theory of Communication.
The 20th century is known as the information age, and for a good reason. It is a period that is dominated by knowledge and data. It’s an era in which the economy is no longer driven by traditional industries — such as construction, manufacturing, or agriculture — but by advanced information technologies that store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data.
This revolution finds its roots in Information Theory. And remarkably, it is a theory that was developed by one man: Claude Shannon.
Before Shannon, society had a rather immature understanding of what information was. Information was understood as something immaterial and intangible. It was not seen as something that could be touched or manipulated. It was assumed that the only way to send information (intelligence, as it was then referred to) across a greater distance was to “boost” the signal by using more power. This was a notoriously imperfect system, as it increased the amount of “noise” that was received and made the message more difficult to discern.
In his foundational work, A Mathematical Theory of Communication, Shannon solved this issue and presented a completely new way of understanding information. He showed that information isn’t insubstantial, but something that we can measure and manipulate — something that has physical characteristics and can be quantified. Shannon also created a diagram which showed that all information has certain, set components — such as a source, a transmitter, a recipient, and so on. As such, not only did he show that information is something that can be made material, through his work, Shannon proved that all information (be it a radio signal, a photo, or a song) can be governed through a set of common laws.
In short, he turned information into something that can be computed and reliably transmitted, laying the foundation for the digital revolution.
Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas
Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou
Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

57 min

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