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Re: AW: <nettime> Information cannot be free
josh zeidner on Wed, 15 Aug 2001 05:39:48 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: AW: <nettime> Information cannot be free



> 
> Ah- Technicians, ever so sexy when
> it comes to explaining communication!

  What is argument without the occasional pot-shot as someones character?  I
can tell you my background is not purely "technical".  

> > For instance if a
> > lecture is given by a American professor on
> Economics,
> > different information will be recieved by, for
> > instance, an english speaking Economics student,
> an
> > english speaking Art student, and a non english
> > speaking person.  The quality of the information
> > depends entirely on the formulations of the
> recipient.
> 
> Nope. I don't think so. If this English-speaking
> professor talked mumbo-jumbo, non of the
> three students could understand him "properly";
> proper meaning matching his intention. The
> lecture is a good example here, because the
> primary intention of the speaker is pretty clear.
> Can he fulfill it, at least partly? This doesn't
> singularly depend on the listeners, au contraire.

  You are right it does not singularily depend on the recievers/listeners, it
depends on those three factors that I mentioned in the original essay.

> So this conclusion only applies if you completely
> separate information and meaning. But - wait a
> moment: in doing so, you remove your own
> difference in the act of reception, because
> if info is free from meaning, how can a the
> act of understanding defer? In other words:
> meaningless information can of course provoce
> associations and thoughts in the receiver,
> but they are arbitrary, in no way linked
> to the communicator and therefore no
> different from an inner monologue. Voilá:
> you've now taken a construcitivist position,
> banishing communication. This system is
> coherent, no question, but it moves the
> focus away from transmission. Shannon
> would no agree to that.

  Perhaps you are misunderstanding the purpose of the essay.  I am not
proposing Shannons ideas as absolute, but rather using them as a tool to
denounce "information should be free", a statement that DOES directly address
the issue in terms of communication and information.  If you prefer to view
things in the constructivist sense, then you have denounced "information should
be free" already.

> 
> > The more information a sender attempts to pack
> into
> > a message, the more tendency it has to be
> percieved as
> > noise.
> 
> It's the code that puts information into context.

  the code must in all cases be agreed upon by sender and reciever.  If the
code is the message itself, how do you communicate a code, which the reciever
has no knowledge of( this implies noise )?

> 
> > The checksum is used by the
> > recipient to make sure the information contained
> > within is valid.  If found to be corrupt, it is
> > discarded.
> 
> No even fuzzy logic comes near to the way
> speech and thinking works. In other words:
> checksums are pretty exact, redundancy in
> communication (usually) is not.

  To communicate a truly new idea, redundancy is altogether necessary.  The
checksum is exact, and I am using this illustration in the context of a very
exact system.  Natural language is not very far off from digital communication.
"all grammars leak" - so its safe to assume that grammars only exist ideally.
To express a complex idea in natural language, you must at least have some kind
of congruency to the language/code of the recipient.  Elaboration is a form of
redundancy.  Very aphoristic terms like "the medium is the message" have huge
implications( and low redundancy ), but are subject to misunderstandings( and
this is most definately the case ).  A long elaboration of this message(
redundancy ) is necessary to put the data in formation.

> > If you take the above principles to thier fullest
> > extent, you will likely begin to notice thier
> > paradoxical nature.
> 
> Sad and true. Their nature is so paradoxical,
> it seems, that they are hardly questioned.
> 
> > ("the truth can be found in a lie" :)
> 
> Now this is an interesting aspect.

  Ahh... this is one of the several dangling axioms featured in the essay.

> > Even the most
> > so-called liberal parties participate in the
> activity
> > of censorship.  Without such selective limiting of
> > data, there would be no coherence, and therefore
> > noise.
> 
> Censorship has a political dimension. The filtering
> of information beginning litterally at our finger-
> tips is not the same as banishing distinct
> information
> and contexts for whatever reason.

  I agree to the political dimension.  But as mentioned, I do not think that
the structure of our intercommunication is the cause of our social situation(
which is implied by the current hacker political trend ).

 -josh


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