Zentropy and Inforgs

I didn’t come up with that title  it’s from an album and it has nothing to do with this post (but it is cool, and random, and I’m writing about entropy).

Entropy may have been Von Neumann’s joking way of connecting concepts in thermodynamics to information, but when extrapolated to semiotics it’s system of informer – informee – informant creates a model that is Peircean in it’s application. If I understand this concept as it relates to information, the more structured your communication there is a small chance of it’s misinterpretation, whereas a much a message with more entropy (randomness) has a larger chance of being misinterpreted. The random information adds noise to our message, and we somehow need to parse out what is accurate.

I want to move on to Inforgs, a Philip K. Dick-esque term for how individuals are becoming interconnected informational organisms. I would argue that we have always been this way, but it wasn’t until discourse moved online that we could comment in real-time and with such rapidity. With our creation of online profiles on major social networking sites we have created the ability to create two separate personas: online and offline. Although code-switching in Hall’s use is usually applied to linguistics (bilingual speakers mixing the high language and low language) it also helps explain online identities.

When we upload new pictures or share content, we deem what information is suitable as an avatar for our natural selves. However, something that is not touched on, is our ability to create a completely fake persona, enter weird twitter, where personas are built from cultural references. Their is also an identity that we do not get to build for ourselves, this is the ITentity. I once studied the use of RFID’s in school ID cards. School’s in large districts stopped tracking in-class attendance and instead relied on the derivative data from the chip to see if the students were really on school grounds. Through our online interactions, we leave a constant trail of metadata and derivative data behind us, I will be interested in studying the models for how this information is used (and it’s limits).


Hall, Stuart. “Encoding, Decoding.” In The Cultural Studies Reader, edited by Simon During, 507-17. London; New York: Routledge, 1993.

Martin Irvine, “Introduction to the Technical Theory of Information

Luciano Floridi, Information, Chapters 1-4. PDF of excerpts.