Information is Physical — The Information (a brief review of James Gleick’s treatise)
August 16, 2012 6 Comments
“The Information: a History, a Theory, a Flood” released by First Vintage Books in march 2012, and written by James Gleick © 2011, will leave you exhilarated with the implications of information as a thing, and exhausted at understanding the implications of information as another dimension, much like length, width, and height. This highly acclaimed and best selling author has probably forgotten more about this topic than this author is capable of restating, but his work is definitely worth a read.
For me, I was quite awakened to the understanding that the term itself is dynamic—notice “in – formation.” No wonder that the requirements and technology to support it, are never static and constantly changing. His discussion about the history and evolution towards the current state of quantum computing is remarkably clear yet simply challenging. Who can honestly explain teleportation cleanly and clearly to someone else. Yet most of us know and would agree with the Einsteinian equation “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
For me, particularly enjoyable was the chapter on Wikipedia, since it represent the true sense of digital collaboration. It also represents consensus, except for the disambiguations, or areas void of clear consensus.
From early Charles Babbage and “no thought can perish” to the edit wars of Wikipedia, if you are regularly engaged in the sphere of information technology, you will find Glieck’s book worthwhile at least, and at most, highly illuminating. After all, which is more accurate—is a human with a cat its “owner,” its “caregiver,” its “human companion,” or other? Or, to borrow liberally from Glieck’s painstaking research “factions fission into . . . the Association of Wikipedians Who Dislike Making Broad Judgments About the Worthiness of a General Category of Article, and Who are in Favor of the Deletion of Some Particularly Bad Articles, but That Doesn’t Mean They Are Deletionists.” (for real).
His Prologue of references and Bibliography alone are worthy of any library, including yours, if part of your life’s passion deals with information technology.
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- Future Facilitative Leadership Factors (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)
- How to Facilitate Virtual Meetings: Teleconference and VideoPresence (Part 3 of 3 – Conclusion) (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)
- The Role of Session Leader (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)
- How to Facilitate a Consensual Sphere of Concern, Influence, and Control Using the Bookend Method (facilitativeleadership.wordpress.com)
- Babbage: April 4th 2012 (economist.com)
- Wikimedia Foundation Report, May 2012 (wikimedia.org)
- Alan Turing name-checks his predecessor Charles Babbage (wired.com)
- James Gleick: The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (ritholtz.com)