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The History of Communication Media Introduction What follows is on attempt to discuss the history of communication technologies - as far as this is humanly possible - in general terms The objective is ultimately the outline of a scientific history of the media - an outline for the simple reason that media sciences is a new field of research which would not exist had it not been for the triumphal advance of modern information technologies This is why such a history comes up against methodological and practical problems One practical problem is that communications technologies themselves are documented to a far lesser extent or are far less accessible than their contents vide the manner in which the intelligence services have remained despite their frequently decisive role in wars to quote the last head of the Wehrmacht intelligence service the Cinderella of military-historical research 1 Then there is the methodological problem posed by the conundrum of whether the now so self-evident term communication can properly be used in connection with times and locations which manifestly were characterised by other terminology drawn from mythology or religion At any rate its enthronement in philosophy was based in John Lockes Essay on Human Understanding on the scarcely generalisable assumption that communication means the rendering into speech of perceived ideas and consequently the linking of isolated individuals through bonds of language2 The only trouble is that philosophy omits to enquire how without language people are supposed to have arrived at their ideas and conceptions in the first place Liberation from this unfathomable confusion came only with a technical concept of information which since Shannons Mathematical Theory of Communication avoids any reference to ideas or meanings and thus to people Information systems in the narrowest sense of the word are it is true optimised in terms of the storage processing and transmission of messages Communication systems on the other hand because in
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