Electronic and human messages are different as the first ones are technically based and the latter ones are semantically based, after of course being transmitted through a physical medium.
As explained by L. THAYER: "… in electronic communication… the transmitter has been designed and programmed to send and the receiver has been designed and programmed to receive (and sometimes to process in some way)" (1972, p.101).
Ambiguity in coding is proscribed and redundancy is used to eliminate noise as completely as possible: "… the "message" must be invariant for the transmitter and the receiver under all conditions. This is the whole point of reliable communication" (Ibid).
THAYER pursues: "For humans, on the other hand, the "message" (which itself is a misnomer) must vary with the context" (Ibid). This means that the same message in different circumstances or places may be received and interpreted in quite different fashion by different receivers. The significance may heavily depend on what B. HOLZNER (quoted by THAYER) calls the "epistemic community" in which it is emitted and received.
THAYER adds the important following comment: "Closely related is the conceptual confusion that has resulted from analogizing the concept of "information" from electronic communication theory, information theory, and cybernetics into the study of human communication" (Ibid).
This kind of "electronic reductionism" goes a long way to explain psychologists and sociologists resistance to the cybernetic concepts in general, and even their belief that cybernetics is not much more than manipulative gadgetry.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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