Saturday, August 11, 2012
A book on the History if Human Communication arrived in march this year. The book is simply fascinating, eye opening, engaging (70 percent of of its length) for anyone who wants to have a glimpse (thorough) of how humans reached the age of internet from the years of 1800s.
The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood , by James Gleick begins with the “talking drums” of Africa and traverses the creation of writing, the ingenious inventions of the steam age, information theory’s origins and development, and ends with the current state of the internet communication.
The book includes the profiles of relatively lesser known inventors such as Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace( who in the 1800s envisioned computers made of gears and powered by steam), and Claude Shannon (a World War II code breaker, without whose achievements computers could not have progressed).
Not limiting itself to the PC related information growth, the book also traces and elaborates the infiltration of information theory into other fields, such as genetics. Among the examples given in this context is the case of DNA, which previously considered mostly a topic of chemistry, came under the realms of technology, when Watson, Crick and Wilkins realized in early 1960s, DNA’s purpose was to convey instructions about how to construct organisms. No wonder the idea was revolutionary even for the scientists at the time.
What makes the book special is that, the author sees the information much more than n just the contents of over-stacked brick and mortar libraries and Web servers. The book asserts that the Information is the driving force which takes the entire Universe forward.
As said the book is an eye opening, fascinating, baffling and engaging book on the History of Information and Communication.
1) Some readers can find it over simplifying, a certain areas.
2) The discussions of logic proofs, unsolvable mathematics proofs, and particularly scientific topics could be unnerving to some readers. But this unnerving feeling exists only for about 20 percent of book pages.
Regardless of any limitations, The Information is an engaging book, for anyone who is interested in the history of Human Communications and Humans.