237.231 Independent Study Week #3


I read this week’s assigned texts. Some notes:

There’s a very real tension between the ethos of “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” and the Compendium of Māori Data Sovereignty. The former is strongly open and anti-sovereignty as a matter of principle; the latter asserts that control and sovereignty are a matter of customary right. They are two ends of a spectrum, and as it often the case in situations like this, it’s not unlikely that both are in need of compromise to find a workable middle position.


Need a brief/outline of my final assignment for this module:

Bit stuck at this stage, on two ideas, so why not expand on both:

  1. The environmental impact of Information, particularly storage and processing.
  2. Entropy, Information, and Art – elaborating on the use of randomness to generate artworks, which is interesting to me given Shannon’s definition of information as the measure of the decrease in uncertainty for a receiver.

1. Environmental impacts of Information

Despite the ongoing improvements in data center installations and storage systems’ energy efficiency, the underlying greenhouse gas and environmental footprint due to data storage is becoming increasingly significant in terms of the overall footprint of IT.

Reducing the Environmental Impact of Data Storage. 11 June 2022, https://www.unsustainablemagazine.com/environmental-impact-of-data-storage/.

A midsize data center uses about 130 million gallons of water per year—roughly the same amount of water as 100 acres of almond trees, three average-sized hospitals, or two 18-hole golf courses.

Levitch, Julie. How Could Data Growth Impact the Environment? 28 Sept. 2021, https://blog.purestorage.com/perspectives/data-growth-and-environmental-sustainability/.
Tips to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Data Storage. https://www.techtarget.com/searchstorage/tip/Tips-to-reduce-the-environmental-impact-of-data-storage. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

2. Entropy, Information, and Art

If I take this option, I will choose to contrast two definitions:

  1. Claude Shannon’s definition of information, as the “measure of the decrease in uncertainty for a receiver”
  2. Art without meaning is decoration.

That would imply that artworks produced through purely random processes may not be Art, because there is no reduction in uncertainty in the generation of the work, so no reduction in uncertainty for the observer/receiver.

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