all bits considered data to information to knowledge

22Mar/110

Entropy of content

The information out there becomes ever more fragmented, and ever less coherent. Arguably,  this could be a sign of "do-it-yourself" democratization of the information itself - no longer will the high priests of information be shaping the data to feed the unwashed masses (it’s might not have been an accident that no new “sacred texts” came into existence since the beginning of the last century… ) Rather, the masses themselves are now free to mix’n’match bits and pieces of data in any way they please. The positive aspect of the democratization is that access to it improved dramatically; the flip side of reducing information to the basic “elementary particles” is that the quality - the coherence of the data - went down just as dramatically.

Consider the following analogy: all music out there can be represented with the same seven notes, and their arrangement could produce Mozart’s symphony or Jingle Bells tune or - depending on the composer’s abilities - just a noise. The Internet brough about a new twist - now you don’t have to buy album of your favorite band, you can only buy a single tune; you could buy a book by chapter, or choose a cut out of famous work of art for a poster.  The rules of packaged deal where author alone decided the structure of his or her masterpiece - the chapters or songs sequence, the arrangement of elements, their colors and shades - is no longer apply with its implicit “not labeled for individual sale” label removed forever.

With so much data out there sloshing around the world 24/7 the question is why do people still pay for information, buying books and paintings?  The answer is the same as it was millennia ago: the ability to tell a good story, to transform raw ingredients into a delightful dish, is a talent which many do not have, and are willing to pay for.