Природо-математически науки

The Information

A History, a Theory, a Flood

Автор(и) : James Gleick

Издател : Pantheon Books

Място на издаване : New York, USA

Година на издаване : 2011

ISBN : 978-0-00-722573-6

Брой страници : 527

Език : английски


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"The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood" is a book by science history writer James Gleick, author of Chaos: Making a New Science. It covers the genesis of our current information age.
Gleick begins with the tale of 18th century European explorers and their fascination with African talking drums and their observed use to send complex and widely understood messages back and forth between villages far apart. Gleick transitions from the information implications of such drum signaling to the impact the of the arrival of long distance telegraph and then telephone communication to the commercial and social prospects of the industrial west. Research to improve these technologies ultimately led to our understanding the essentially digital nature of information, quantized down to the unit of the bit (or qubit).
Starting with the development of symbolic written language, Gleick examines the history of intellectual insights central to information theory, detailing the key figures responsible such as Claude Shannon, Charles Babbage, Ada Byron, Samuel Morse, Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins and John Archibald Wheeler. The author also delves into how digital information is now being understood in relation to physics and molecular biology. Gleick finally discusses Wikipedia and the implications of its expansive user generated content and the ultimate entropy cost of generating aditional information.
The Information has received mostly positive reviews by the press such as by Nicholas Carr for The Daily Beast and physicist Freeman Dyson for The New York Review of Books. Geoffrey Nunberg writing for The New York Times, while mostly positive, is concerned about Gleick's dismissal of distinctions between pure information and meaning. Ian Pindar writing for The Guardian laments The Information for not fully addressing the relationship between social control of information (censorship) and access to political power.

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