Lecture 1 January 4, 2011
Introduction, Information and Data
- Information is everything
- email, weather network, brain signals, syllabus, etc.
- Retailers use information to persuade you. Credit cards are information condensed
- Temperature is information. Thermostats regulate the temperature of a room based on the
Information is Not:
- Knowledge (is organized use of info, not info)
- However information involves all of these
- Organizational Problems are Problems with Information
- Why are encyclopedias organized alphabetically instead of by topic or by colour?
- World is governed by information and organizational strategies
- Total information= 0. If you had all the information in the world you would have nothing.
- Info. has value only when it’s circulated. So information is everything and nothing at the same
- What does the internet fundamentally mean? Not it’s function. Hard question, like asking what
is the meaning of life...
- Public information is tended by many intermediaries (soldier-general-writer-boss-editor-
- willful distortion
- telephone game
- Willful modifications include selective additions and omissions, censorship,
- misinterpreting data = accidental modifications
- Credible information of weapons in Iraq led to 2003 invasion. People didn’t question it as
being unreliable info.
Information is Patterning
- Further step in development of info. theory
- Through use of patterns info can be more predictable/useful.
- Part is fair representation of whole - how statistical data is calculated.
- Nation voting odds - sample of people, not everyone.
- Triangle with info, organization, control on the corners.
- All are interconnected.
- We can speak of information as reality (footprint in snow), for reality (instruction manual), or
about reality (LTC Bus Schedule)
- Always has something to do with ‘reality’
- Information must contain data.
- Data must be structured.
- Structured Data must have meaning.
- Data is bits and bobs that haven’t been structured yet, they then have no meaning yet.
- Syntax: how data is put together in some sort of sequence. But still doesn’t give meaning. Lecture 1 January 4, 2011
- eg. something written in an alien language would have no meaning for us because we don’t
understand the language. It would have meaning for the people who could understand it.
The Library of Babel
- Library is potentially infinite
- composed of interlocking hexagons, each hexagon has 4 blahblah... anyways the number of
books in the library is 25x10 to the power of 1.32 million
- Data = Something that is distinct from something else.Something unique against something
uniform (a speck on a white background would be data)
- Duck Duck Goose = break in the monotony “goose” is data, before that it is just nothingness
“duck, duck, duck...”
- Data gives you the ability to perform an action.
- Silence/Absence is Data.
- When your phone won’t turn on, that is data because it gives you the information that
your phone is dead.
- Still have to derive meaning from it.
- Data comes in ana