Re: Is Information Informative !?

Date: Wed 07 Jan 2004 - 18:57:37 GMT

  • Next message: Lawrence DeBivort: "RE: Is Information Informative !?"

    Dans un e-mail daté du 07/01/04 14:53:58 Paris, Madrid, a écrit :

    > Data is not information.
    > Information is not knowledge.
    > Knowledge is not understanding.
    > (So if your 'information' is not informative, it's
    > just data.)
    > Who said that? I can't remember.

    I don't remember if I did answer this thread earlier.

    Information has been one of my favorite subjects since my early research for my thesis. The meaning of information as in "the theory of information" which was originates by Shannon and Weaver in 1949 (1) was first limited to the technical capacity of a channel to transmit data. In the first attempt, information was the capability of reducing the uncertainty in the transmission of a set of signals between a transmitter and a receiver. Shanon and Weaver excluded the semantic content of the message to remain purely in the engineering domain. Leon Brilloin (2) , in 1962, extended the concept of information to the capability to reduce uncertainty, including through semantic content. Doing this he vastly enlarged the application domain to biology, psychology where a behavior could be carrying information by the fact that it was reducing the uncertainty of the receptor. Another researcher, a psycho-sociologist, Abraham Moles (3) pushed the concept of information further to social interactions.

    In summary, anything that reduces the uncertainty of a receiver is by definition information. Things that increase the uncertainty are "noises".

    I have expended on that subject in my thesis (unfortunately unfinished) by developping a value theory whereby we value objects and services according to thei information content, that is by their capability to reduce our uncertainties. A summary of this research is available on my website (in French) :

    On the next step, going from information to knowledge, one can refer to the article of Alan Newell (4), where he develops the concept extremely well.

    On understanding there is an excellent paper by Karl Popper (5), "The myth of the Frame of Reference". It shows how it is difficult to really understand some one else's point of view in its completeness.

    (1) E. Shannon & W. Weaver, "The Mathematical Theory of Communication", The University of Illinois press, 1969 (1949 first ed)
    (2) L. Brilloin, "Science and Information Theory", NY Academic Press 1962
    (3) A. Moles, "Théorie Structurale de la Communication et Société", Masson, Paris 1988
    (4) Alan Newell : "The Knowledge Level", Artificial Intelligence, 18 (1), 1982
    (5) K. Popper, "Le mythe du cadre de référence", In "Karl Popper et la science d'aujourd'hui", Centre Culturel de Cerisy-la Salle, Aubier, Paris, 1972

    More references if needed.

    Yours sincerely.

    Paul trehin

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