Persuasive Essay Department Store Dilemma

Persuasive Essay Department Store Dilemma-24
For those troubled by the ontological questions regarding information, we might want to simply focus on the symbols and define information as any meaningfully ordered set of symbols.Mathematicians and engineers prefer to focus on this aspect of information, which is called “syntax” and leave the meaningfulness of information or its “semantics” for others to figure out. Shannon working at Bell Labs in the forties produced a landmark mathematical theory of communication (1948).In this work he utilized his experiences in cryptography and telephone technologies to work out a mathematical formulation describing how syntactical information can be turned into a signal that is transmitted in such a way as to mitigate noise or other extraneous signals which can then be decoded by the desired receiver of the message (Shannon 1948; Shannon and Weaver 1949).

For those troubled by the ontological questions regarding information, we might want to simply focus on the symbols and define information as any meaningfully ordered set of symbols.Mathematicians and engineers prefer to focus on this aspect of information, which is called “syntax” and leave the meaningfulness of information or its “semantics” for others to figure out. Shannon working at Bell Labs in the forties produced a landmark mathematical theory of communication (1948).

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As you go through this thought experiment you begin to see the complex trail of data that you generate each and every day and how that same data might be efficiently collected and stored though the use of information technologies.

It is here we can begin to see how information technology can impact moral values.

Which raises the question, what is information itself?

Unfortunately there is not a completely satisfying and philosophically rigorous definition available, though there are at least two very good starting points.

One famous example can be found in the “Chinese Room Argument” (Searle 1980) in which the philosopher John Searle argued that even if one were to build a machine that could take stories written in Chinese as input and then output coherent answers to questions about those stories, it would not prove that the machine itself actually understood what it was doing.

The argument rests on the claim that if you replaced the workings of the machine with a person who was not a native Chinese speaker who would then painstakingly follow a set of rules to transform the set of Chinese logograms input into other output symbols.

Digital information is nonexclusory, meaning we can all, at least theoretically, possess the same digital information without excluding its use from others.

This is because copying digital information from one source to another does not require eliminating the previous copy.

Unlike a physical object, theoretically, we can all possess the same digital object as it can be copied indefinitely with no loss of fidelity.

Since making these copies is often so cheap that it is almost without cost, there is no technical obstacle to the spread of all information as long as there are people willing to copy it and distribute it.

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