Monday, March 18, 2013

How we communicate

In a recent exchange of e-mail, a discussion ensued about the nature of communication and the transmission of vital information ... along the lines of how we assure that juries "hear" what we "say."

Here's an older article, but a great study on communication:

"Communication is the transmission of information, and there are many ways to implement it. You may be surprised that digital and personal communications protocols are remarkably alike. But given that communications theory is a mathematical theory, as opposed to say a physical one, it makes perfect sense."

"The transport layer allows for endpoint connection handling and reliable delivery.

“Hello, Hey!” -> TCP SYN, open a connection
Nodding, eye contact, “yeah” -> ACK, “got it”
“What? Hm? confused look” -> NACK, resend
“Ummmm” -> Buffering…
“Bye” -> FIN, close connection

Note that the protocols are optimized to reduce overhead. The bits of communication that are used simply to facilitate communication are kept to a minimum. “Hey, what, bye, thanks, yeah” are all very short, easy to say words. Also, it’s annoying to talk to someone that’s not looking at you since you don’t know if your information is getting through or not.

You’re probably also noticing how much more diverse the human counterparts are. Redundancy provides robustness at the cost of efficiency and simplicity. This is a key difference between biological and synthetic systems."

It continues ... and is quite fascinating.


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