Five: The Memex
This is just what Vannevar Bush suggests in his famous article As We May Think in the July 1945 issue of The Atlantic. Here he posits the Memex, and opens up the idea of networked information.
The internet itself could be though of as a massive living and ever-growing commonplace book which can be digitally queried to provide the answers to nearly every conceivable question.
(Some may forget that Bush was the thesis advisor of Claude Shannon, the father of the modern digital age.)
This post was originally published on Chris Aldrich
In honor of tomorrow’s release of Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman’s book A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age, I’ve created an Information Theory playlist on Spotify.
Songs about communication, telephones, conversation, satellites, love, auto-tune and even one about a typewriter! They all relate at least tangentially to the topic at hand. To up the ante, everyone should realize that digital music would be impossible without Shannon’s seminal work.
Let me know in the comments or by replying to one of the syndicated copies listed below if there are any great tunes that the list is missing.
Enjoy the list and the book!
An Information Theory Playlist on Spotify was originally published on Chris Aldrich
📖 Read pages 16-55 of A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age by Jimmy Soni & Rob Goodman
Knowing that I’ve read a lot about Shannon and even Vannevar Bush over the years, I’m pleasantly surprised to read some interesting tidbits about them that I’ve not previously come across. I was a bit worried that this text wouldn’t provide me with much or anything new on the subjects at hand.
I’m really appreciating some of the prose and writing structure, particularly given that it’s a collaborative work between two authors. At times there are some really nonstandard sentence structures, but they’re wonderful in their rule breaking.
They’re doing an excellent job so far of explaining the more difficult pieces of science relating to information theory. In fact, some of the intro was as good as I think I’ve ever seen simple explanations of what is going on within the topic. I’m also pleased that they’ve made some interesting forays into topics like eugenics and the background role it played in the story for Shannon.
They had a chance to do a broader view of the history of computing, but opted against it, or at least must have made a conscious choice to leave out Babbage/Lovelace within the greater pantheon. I can see narratively why they may have done this knowing what is to come later in the text, but a few sentences as a nod would have been welcome.
The book does, however, get on my nerves with one of my personal pet peeves in popular science and biographical works like this: while there are reasonable notes at the end, absolutely no proper footnotes appear at the bottoms of pages or even indicators within the text other than pieces of text with quotation marks. I’m glad the notes even exist in the back, but it just drives me crazy that publishers blatantly hide them this way. The text could at least have had markers indicating where to find the notes. What are we? Animals?
Nota bene: I’m currently reading an advanced reader copy of this; the book won’t be out until mid-July 2017.
📖 Read pages 16-55 of A Mind at Play by Jimmy Soni & Rob Goodman was originally published on Chris Aldrich
The quintessential poolside summer reading: A Mind at Play
Instagram filter used: Clarendon
Photo taken at: Gerrish Swim & Tennis Club
The quintessential poolside summer reading: A Mind at Play was originally published on Chris Aldrich