posted Aug 09, 2003
in Communication Ethics

Communication Ethics book part for Human-experienced message . (This is an automatically generated summary to avoid having huge posts on this page. Click through to read this post.)

The human-experienced message is the way the message is perceived by the human being in the model. In other words, the closest possible thing you can get to the actual human experience. After all, the whole point of communication, no matter what its form, is to stimulate the firing of nerve impulses in the human recipient's brain, which should be considered the "most pure" form of this idea.

It is probably OK in practice to step back one level from this ultimate destination, and focus on the representation that the human perceives and thus in practice refer to "the browser-rendered web page" or "the television transmission reception" without loss, as it is essentially impossible to discuss what happens inside of someone's brain. Nevertheless that is the fundamental effect that we are talking about and there are times when this distinction will matter.

An example of when it is better to use the approximation is when trying to determine whether or not a given person has consumed content. Practically speaking, if you order a pay-per-view movie and then go shopping while the movie is playing, you really don't have a basis for claiming an ethical right to a refund. While it is true in theory that you did not get what you paid for, there's no way one can expect the movie provider to check up on you and find out whether you really watched the movie. Indeed, you'd probably consider that intrusive.

Note we are not talking about "the television program"; a given "program" may be wrapped in different commercials from run to run, and may have a wide variety of advertisements run across the bottom during the show, not to mention random editing cuts for content, fitting the screen, or blatant greed. We are concerned with the actual transmission, the actual images seen, not the "logical" (to use a computer term) content. I am not talking about "the web page", which may be rendered in any of umpteen thousands of variations by various browsers and their various settings; I am talking about the actual final images shown on the screen. I'm talking about as close to the human sensory organs as you can get.

Of course, this directly corresponds to the fundamental property of communication that "Only humans matter." Who cares what your computer sees? Only what you personally experience really matters.


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