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FEATURE ARTICLE

The Information Paradox

Classical information theory has no room for meaning—but humans persist in assigning meaning. How can we reconcile this difference?

Peter J. Denning, Tim Bell

2012-11DenningF1.jpgClick to Enlarge ImageScientists in many fields work with information processes but lack a good definition of information. The concept of information can seem abstract and intangible. But, as the authors note, information is real and tangible, and a rigorous science has been built around it. They discuss the history of information along with examples of why information is real and tangible, and why it cannot exist without representation in a physical medium. Finally, they propose an alternative to Claude Shannon's original model of information theory that allows for the existence of meaning.


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