By: Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver
Dr. Stephen Hillis
23 February 2012
The study of communication has long been a formidable presence in the world of academia and a topic of discourse among its influencing scholars. Since ancient times when rhetoric, oratory and persuasion were vital to the Greek and Roman empires, communication and the study thereof has endured. And it can be traced back even farther to the beginnings of civilization. Because of its widespread, necessary and self-evident use, communication has been labeled the most humanizing activity one can engage in. And today, communication and its associated particulars have developed further and become a field that not only permeates almost every area of academia and human culture but also changes the reality of the world we live in. It has grown from a “means to and end” perspective to being viewed as an integral part of the human condition that creates and shapes everything around us. It is not a way of life; it is what creates the ways of life.
This evolution of thought or the realization of what communication actually is has been established over many thousands of years and been impacted on different levels by those who were both fascinated by its content and dedicated to understanding its complex intricacies. Two such individuals that acquired a thirst for the exposition of communication were Claude E. Shannon and Warren Weaver.
In 1949, when the telephone had already been invented (1876) and digital computers had recently been developed (tools for digital messaging), Shannon, an electrical engineer and Weaver, a mathematician, formulated what is know today as Information Theory in response to the technological advance by researching fundamental limits on signal processing operations. The result, a published work titled “A Mathematical Theory of Communication”...