Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If I Can Measure It, It's Information

Virtualpolitik friend Siva Vaidhyanathan is quoted in today's Los Angeles Times article, "Google to buy AdMob in bid to reach mobile users."

"They define everything in the universe as information," said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a media studies professor at the University of Virginia, "which means everything in the world is potentially in their domain."

Because Google is fundamentally an advertising company, Vaidhyanathan said, its highest priority is to "harvest users' attention" and sell that commodity to eager marketers.

Vaidhyanathan raises an interesting point about how information is defined and how that definition assigns a monetary value and how the number of potential factors classified as information in Google's scheme reaches into the realm of sublime numbers. Of course, when information was first being defined with mathematical theories during the Cold War, information scientists like Claude Shannon and Norbert Wiener realized how this quantification might have economic and political effects, even if they understood those effects in the context of a battle with a Communist other.

In contrast, some argue that "Google Devalues Everything It Touches."

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