Data doesn’t Know


[Unseen Rotjeknor]

In the stories on Big Data et al. (predictive analysis, … , you name it), I often see a big confusion about terms. Some even mix up data and information, or only pay lip service to the fundamental difference..!

Oh yes, many come up with the Information Pyramid; in a most basic picture I took from wipo.int:

* sometimes, Knowledge is bracketed between Data and Information; more on that below.

But there’s something fishy with the way the picture is being used, commonly.
For one thing, any action that produces meta data (i.e., just plain flat derivative data !!) is considered to be ‘enrichment’ onto Information. But that’s wrong! All the aggregation, the averaging, the abstraction that you do, only delivers other data, with the (near-mathematical) translation functions still intact – although also, information gets lost..! Yes, the details count, and have their own ‘information’; a full description of all data points in a set would require at least all the data points themselves, or miss something when they’re described, circumscribed otherwise.
The problem is; no-one really knows how to get from Data to Information as we intuitively (heh) understand it. Information seems to be detached, or separated from Data by a chasm that we do not know how to cross, probably because our understanding of what Information is, and our definitions, are so weak.
Oh, and putting a layer of Knowledge in between Data and Information, doesn’t help anything, either. Even worsens the problem. As it is above, it doesn’t say much either. And instead of Knowledge, above one could also fill in Understanding, or Insight (which would come closer to but remain separated from Wisdom). And above the peak, is there Nirvana? Smells like blog spirit.

So, all the efforts of NLIQ and MITIQ may be fine, as for data analysis to try to achieve predictive analysis (nice pun, the contradictio in those terms!), but as long as Data and Information are used arbitrarily (see the list of publications and the actual articles contents …), one will remain stuck in data analysis and not reach the next level of Information. Or Knowledge, let alone Understanding, Insight or even Wisdom.

But I keep running in circles. Yes, I know, and I also know that in order to advance, we’ll need to get a grip on two things:
1. Definitions, in the traditional sense or by way of aspect/category/label/hermeneutic quality descriptions, of all the levels we may distinguish;
2. Definitions, in both ways, too, of the transitions and transition methods, tools, etc., we may construct theoretically and practically.

I’ll do some work on this, but your help is appreciated..!

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About maverisk

Maverisk Consultancy, IS Audit and Advisory services: Wikinomics meets governance and audit; otherwise, see my personal LinkedIn profile
This entry was posted in ERM, GRC, Information Risk Management, Information Security, Innovation (technologicallly driven), Innovation, economics, society at large, Privacy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Data doesn’t Know

  1. Pingback: The librarian wave | Maverisk

  2. Pingback: Quick note: Privacy is about Info, not Data | Maverisk

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