# Myth, Media, Meta Three Information Epochs and What They Mean for Broadcasting Dennis L. Haarsager Associate Vice President & General Manager Educational.

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Myth, Media, Meta Three Information Epochs and What They Mean for Broadcasting Dennis L. Haarsager Associate Vice President & General Manager Educational & Public Media, Washington State University

Information Wants To Be Free

But, what kind of free? Free as in free beer? Free as in free inquiry or free speech? Free as in unhindered?

Entropy Thermodynamic entropy: 2 nd Law of Thermodynamics Energy tends to disperse unless hindered Entropy increases over time Information entropy: Behaves the same way – it scatters and grows in volume The math is the same (Claude Shannon developed for Bell System)

Example: Ancestral DNA 12½% 25% 50% You 250 years 10 generations = 1,024 ancestors = 0.01%

Example: Game of telegraph A B CD E F Story begins … Is passed on … Revealed story usually differs from the original

Growth in human-generated info Writing invented ca. 3500 BCE Moving forward to 1 CE, the Royal Library at Alexandria had 400k-600k scrolls Lets assume each was equiv. of 100 pp. And that they missed 90% of info Total then is 1 TB worldwide, 3 kB for each of 300M persons

Info growth, continued A 2000 study estimated 12 exabytes total, increasing at 4 exabytes per year A 2002 study estimated 5 exabytes that year alone (37,000 Libraries of Congress) Makes 2007 estimate 45 exabytes, 6.8 GB for each of 6.6B people In 2000 years, population has grown 22- fold, but information per person has grown 2 million times

Human intervention Desiring to retain value from information, we humans … … hinder its free dispersion. In thermodynamics, we create low-entropy hindrances like the head of a match, a balloon or tire, a Thermos ®, et al. With information, we do the following …

Information epochs Myth Metaphor, story-telling, poetry, music, art Media One-to-many print, electronic communications Meta Machine-assisted many-to-many communications

Information epochs Humans are in an arms race against information entropy Failings of memory Limitations of dissemination New epochs build on – not replace – what comes before, but not without change Death of legacy media – Not! Death of culture (Andrew Keen) – Not!

Myth: poetry, values Early shall he rise who has designs On anothers land or life: His prey escapes the prone wolf, The sleeper is seldom victorious. Hávamál, The Sayings of Hár translation: W. H. Auden and P. B. Taylor

Myth: poetry, metaphor Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange. Ariels song in The Tempest William Shakespeare

Media Rock paintings ca. 40,000 years ago Cave paintings ca. 32,000 years ago Earliest writing ca. 3500 BCE Johannes Gutenberg (~1400-68) invents movable type printing in Europe (earlier in Asia), launching mass media

Mass media A marriage between story-telling and mass distribution One-to-many architecture permits broad distribution of the same message The story teller authority continues to be king

Meta In Greek – transcending, going above or beyond As in metadata – data which describe other information in a useful way Permits granular manipulation and dissemination of information Permits tracking and acting on to what users pay attention

Metamedia In the meta world, anyone can create and distribute – authorities are many Good story-telling and comprehensive effort still prevails (only 12 of top 100 blogs are individual efforts) Machines can learn user histories and respond

Implications for broadcasters Dont dig your grave just yet But dont rely on the remote control to save you Viewers and listeners have many access choices Good story-telling is important in more than just 30-minute increments Does this frame tell a story?

Implications, continued Embrace the meta and social interaction Engage in a conversation with your audience Manage production for archival value

Contact information Dennis L. Haarsager Assoc VP/GM, Educational & Public Media Washington State University www.haarsager.org/contact www.haarsager.org/contact www.technology360.com

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