March 29, 2011
When we look back through history, we can see that a lot of different stories all turn out to be stories about information
Kevin Kelly interviews James Gleick about his new book The Information.
Gleick: Shannon said that the notion of information has nothing to do with meaning. A string of bits has a quantity, whether it represents something that’s true, something that’s utterly false, or something that’s just meaningless nonsense. If you were a scientist or an engineer, that idea was very liberating; it enabled you to treat information as a manipulable thing.
Kelly: And how would you define this thing?
Gleick: Scientifically, information is a choice—a yes-or-no choice. In a broader sense, information is everything that informs our world—writing, painting, music, money.
Kelly: And as we came to understand how information works, that impacted our understanding of how our bodies and minds operate, too, right?