meaning exist for information theory


In the signal transmitting process, signals, existing as bits, break through the physical constraints and minimize the contained information here. By putting choice half and half, like a flip coin, into the yes and no question, the signal created as binary digit as unit of information, thus make the breakthrough possible. Also, the Peter J. denning said that “transformation opens many new possibilities, most notably the creation of new information”(little confusing), the information is not change until being represented to observers and thus increase. To make transformation work, the computing process of this transformation must have an end instead of an infinite loop, while in the interaction systems, to apply it with intentions and meanings, it can be infinite. As the signals are waves or electric thing, they cost energy to some extend also.


For the classical information theory, Shannon is not taking the meaning part into consideration, he thought it is irrelevant. Shannon is more focusing on the technical part of transmission, the channels for this process instead of human involvement. But that is not the situation as long as the information theory putting into practice. As saying that “Meaningful’ means that the data must comply with the meanings (semantics) of the chosen system, code, or language in question. “ with my personal understanding, that when interaction happened, meaning will exist.

Meaning distribution

So it feels like meaning is distributed in this process, in our interaction with outside data and signs. Like the text being digitized into several bits, transmitted to our smart phone, then interpreted by decoding system within our phone, to become the symbolic sign we are familiar with, which is being described as “referent” within our brain. As we seeing the sign, we recognize its meaning from what we reference before. So it seems like a little similar to the distributed cognition from some aspect? Only standing from the artifacts foothold.



So as mentioned in the article: the information paradox, referent is hard to tell sometimes because with technology development, some of that also exist within digital devices. So for AI system, it now has the ability to deep learning, it is also gain social context and store in its brain, so can it calls the sign also generate meaning for a AI system when it knows how to cooperate signs like traffic lights?


Martin Irvine, Introduction to the Technical Theory of Information
Luciano Floridi, Information: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Peter Denning and Tim Bell, “The Information Paradox.” From American Scientist, 100, Nov-Dec. 2012.