Information theory, initially formulated as part of the study of electrical engineering, has exerted a wide influence over subsequent understandings of media, communications, and philosophy (as well as many areas of science). It seeks to understand information in quantified terms, in order to determine a medium’s ability to transmit data accurately. This entry provides an overview of information theory and then explores its development and contemporary relevance.


Information theory is founded upon the mathematical model of communication (also known as the Shannon-Weaver model, named for the two authors first responsible for its articulation) which attempts to conceptualize the nature of human communication in generally applicable terms. This model conceives of communication as any procedure whereby one mind affects another (or, in an even broader possible ...

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