Neste trecho, Gleick comenta sobre a importância do trabalho de Shannon para a “purificação” to termo informação. Até então, tratava-se de um conceito muito vago. Segundo ele, a Teoria Matemática da Informação foi fundamental para dar força científica ao conceito, permitindo que todo o desdobramento tecnológico decorrente disso pudesse deslanchar.
“For the purposes of science, information had to mean something special. Three centuries earlier, the new discipline of physics could not proceed until Isaac Newton appropriated words that were ancient and vague – force, mass, motion, and even time – and gave them new meanings. Newton made these terms into quantities, suitable for use in mathematical formulas. Until then, motion (for example) had been just a soft and inclusive a term as information. For Aristotelians, motion covered a far-flung family of phenomena: a peach ripening, a stone falling, a child growing, a body deaying. That was too rich. Most varieties of motion had to be tossed out before Newton’s laws could apply and the Scientific Revolution could succeed. In the nineteenth century, energy began to undergo a similar transformation: natural philosophers adapted a word meaning vigor or intensity. They mathematicized it, giving energy its fundamental place in the physicists’ view of nature.
It was the same with information. A rite of purification became necessary.
And then, when it was made simple, distilled, counted in bits, information was found to be everywhere. Shannon’s theory made a bridge between information and entropy; and between information and chaos. It led to compact discs and fax machines, computers and cyberspace, Moore’s law and all the worl’s Siicon Alleys. Information processing was born, along with information storage and information retrieval. People began to name a successor to the Iron Age and the Steam Age.”
Não há dúvida que “simplificar” conceitos e reduzir potenciais interpretantes é uma forma de empobrecer uma palavra tão cheia de possibilidades como “informação”. Por outro lado, é papel das ciêncas exatas isolar variáveis e definir escopo mais claro de pesquisa.
GLEICK, James. A informação: uma história, uma teoria, uma enxurrada. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2013.