Information Theory

When we communicate with one another we use certain words more frequently than others. This may seem like a pretty benign idea considering you know this to be true without really thinking about it, but what are the implications of this simple idea?

The implications of this idea have led scientists to study what is called Information Theory.

Information Theory has begun to open up options for us that we have never thought possible, and will allow us on earth to better understand the environment around us.

Information Theory is rooted in the probability of occurrence of certain words within a language. This probability of occurrence allows us to determine if what we are hearing is simply noise, or if it is complex communication.

Think about it this way, every language in the human race has certain words that are used more frequently than others during communication. Due to this fact we would know that if we took several minutes of conversation, or several pages of coherent text we would end up with a long list of words being used with varying frequencies.

If we were to then plot this information into a graph we would get something that looks like this…

Actual Info graph

This angle would be consistent regardless of the language of communication, provided it was actual, coherent information.

If, on the other hand, we took several minutes of random spoken words, or random text, we would still end up with a long list of words, but the variance associated with their level of use would have changed. If plotted, this graph might look like this…

Random Words graph

We have just now begun to examine the larger implications of this theory, and seeing it in practice is truly fascinating.

Information theory is being applied to sounds made by dolphins and whales, to better understand their language, and the depth of their communication, and their is little doubt that they have a language with meaning, even if we cannot understand it.

This theory is also being applied to hundreds of millions of electromagnetic noises from all across the universe. Will it just reveal noise? Or will we hear….information?