He digitized the world

  ”Hello everyone, I’m Claude Shannon, a mathematician at Bell Telephone Labs.” As the camera lens gradually zoomed in, a slender man wearing a suit, tie, and self-introduction introduced himself in lively and brisk language.
  This happened in 1952. Although for engineers and mathematicians, Shannon is already a legend who does not need to be introduced, but for millions of viewers in the United States, he is still a strange face-but soon became well-known and well known. .
  Shannon and his “These”
  Shannon were shooting a promotional video. In the film, he demonstrates a wooden toy mouse with copper whiskers. He called it “These.”
  As its name suggests, Shannon’s wooden mouse is also a master of maze walking. It can pass random trial and error through a maze of metal walls until it finds a piece of metal “cheese” at the exit. The most powerful and original thing is: “These” can still remember this route, and can complete the task beautifully in the next test; even in the next task, the walls of the maze have moved, it will not be difficult it.
  Shannon told the audience in the lens, “Solving a problem and remembering the solution involves a certain degree of mental activity, which is already a bit like a brain.” For American audiences, Theseus was almost shocked to heaven: this It’s a machine that can think!
  The wooden mouse and the entire maze system were built by Shannon and his wife for countless nights. He said it was inspired by his love of children’s building blocks and his interest in the hedge maze in London’s Hampton Court Palace.
  In addition to greatly increasing the popularity of Bell Labs, Theseus also featured on the covers of the most influential magazines of the era, Time, Life, and Popular Science. One article even had the title “This mouse is smarter than you”. “These” impressed Shannon’s bosses so much. In a burst of enthusiasm, they wanted to elect Shannon to the board of the Bell Telephone Company.
  In today’s world where artificial intelligence has been able to beat the world’s best chess players and can drive cars, remembering the location of some “cheese” seems like a trivial achievement. But at the time, Theseus was amazing. It reflects Shannon’s two fundamental contributions to the information age.
  To lay the foundation of computer science
  first contribution is shown that the electronic circuit can work with binary logic. Although Theseus is driven by magnets and motors hidden in its body, the memory that manages its memory function is not on it, but consists of 75 relays hidden around the maze. Anyone who has learned physics knows that in a circuit, the function of a relay is very simple, there are only two-on / off.
  The reason why Shannon chose to use a set of relays to build a memory system for Theseus was because he had spent years exploring how to use the relay on / off to show the memory function of the brain.
  As early as 1937, as a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he learned about the work of the English logician Bull in the 19th century. Boolean recognizes that any complex logic is based on a few simple logics-such as AND, OR, NOT, and IF (if). Shannon further proved that these simple logic functions can be performed by on / off of electronic circuits. This discovery means that, in theory, any complex logic can be broken down into several simple logics, and then a set of words that can express or execute 1/0 (on / off)-or in logical terms: true / False-A binary device to complete.
  This discovery is a leap forward in artificial intelligence, and its impact is far-reaching. Because the idea that electronic circuits can perform logical operations is the basis of the entire computer science. Even in 1937, Shannon’s contemporaries had recognized the importance of his discovery, for which he won many awards and was featured in the New York Times. His master’s thesis is known as “the most important and well-known master’s thesis of this century.” That year he was only 21 years old.
  ”Father of the Information Age”
  This was Shannon’s first great achievement, but he did not stop there. His second achievement was also reflected in the relay of Theseus. The system that stores the path of Theseus labyrinth is digital, that is, because each on / off represents 1/0, the system stores discrete values, not common in analog devices such as barometers and ammeters. Continuous value. In 1948, four years before the debut of Theseus, Shannon had demonstrated the power of a digital system that could not only perform logical operations, but also transmit information without errors.
  During his work at Bell Labs, Shannon published a seminal paper “The Mathematical Theory of Communication”, in which he introduced the concept of bits (English binary digits for short, Chinese meaning “binary digits”). Bit is the basic unit for measuring information and is the cornerstone of the information age. Shannon proved that digital codes can represent any type of information, so all information can be digitized; the digitized information can be compressed and then transmitted, which can also greatly reduce transmission time and transmission costs. The most revolutionary is that he showed that digital code (binary code) allows us to pass digital information from A to B without error. This is why all the information we read on the Internet today, whether text, pictures, audio, or video, is written and transmitted in binary code 0/1.
  This result of Shannon has laid the foundation for the preservation and transmission of information in our information age. It is well-deserved to be called “the father of the information age” by future generations.
  Play out many inventions
  Shannon’s work brought him a great reputation, which makes him able to escape from their daily work out, free to do what we love. After all, who is qualified to direct the founder of information theory to pass his time?
  Freedom gives him more inspiration. In the years that followed, his inventions continued to emerge. Includes a flame-launching horn, a juggling robot, a set of unicycles, a computer operated by Roman numerals, and a design drawing to help Americans drive to the left on British highways (Note: British and American traffic The rules are different. The United Kingdom exercises on the left and the United States exercises on the right.) In the latter design, Shannon cleverly used a series of mirrors, so that when American drivers used them, they thought they were still exercising on the right side of the road. Along with MIT professor Ida Thorpe, Shannon invented the first wearable computer for use at roulette. They personally ran to Las Vegas to test its effect, and made a lot of money.
  Shannon later called his inventions “interesting but useless.” “I spend a lot of time on completely useless things,” he said. But he was too modest. His interest in invention is almost endless, and the more his whim seems to be more “spending”. Even in his studio, where wonderful inventions have piled up, Shannon still has a strong interest in emerging fields such as AI. For example, his early computer that played chess was the ancestor of today’s IBM “dark blue”.
  Shannon died at the age of 84 on February 24, 2001. After his death, countless unfinished manuscripts and inventions were sorted out in his residence. On Shannon, the passionate curiosity combined with the outstanding brain is so perfect that we still marvel at it. Indeed, “These” is not only a model of artificial intelligence, it is also the embodiment of human wisdom, which makes it possible to digitize the world.