Just watched this video essay on Claude Shannon by Delve.tv (via kottke.org). I had read about Shannon in James Glieck’s book Information: a history, a theory, a flood (which I found deeply intriguing even if I felt almost lost at times).
As the video essay explains it, Shannon’s insight was one that allowed humanity to make a significant leap in the way we thought about information. I had been telling this to my students in my digital networked media lectures for years – that the insight that all information can be transmitted as 1’s and 0’s was an incredibly important one – but I had not thought about it in such grand terms (a “leap forward” for humanity) not had I known it was Shannon who brought it to us. (This even though I had read Glieck’s book, since he does such an excellent job contextualizing the developments of the 20th Century that brought us to where we are, a technique which tends to downplay individual contributions).
I’m looking forward to stirring in more discussion of Shannon to my digital networked media courses in the future.