Thursday 23 April 2009

Undervaluing Shannon

I've finally reached the point in Chandler where he mentions Shannon. I knew it was coming because I'd looked it up in the index, but I've been very strong-willed, and worked my way linearly1 through the book2, resisting the temptation to jump ahead.

Chandler makes very little of Shannon and passes on quite quickly. I think he's not giving due credit to the degree to which Shannon's ideas have fed into much else of what he has been discussing. Or more generally I think ideas from communication engineering have been used and developed in other fields. The idea of a 'code' in semiotics, did that not come from the codes of telecommunications?

1 Doing things 'linearly' is almost a term of abuse these days. I'm always hopping around and being very non-linear, but I still think of that as getting distracted. The more linear I'm being, the more focussed I am.

2 'The book', actually I changed from the 1st edition to the 2nd edition somewhere around page 100!

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