Without meaning, information theory can solve the engineering problem—but only the engineering problem. Granting engineering problems primacy in questions of meaning, however, seems like a hasty, ignominious surrender. We should at least wait to size up our coming mechanical overlords by taking stock of how current advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning play out. Soni and Goodman write that the rejection of meaning “formalized an intuition wired into the phone company—which was, after all, in the business of transmission, not interpretation.” It’s hard to avoid grim images of pale kings locked in bureaucracies executing menial tasks.
The Man Who Invented Information Theory | Boston Review: