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What is the relationship between knowledge and Information?

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Clearly, informing us that there is an intimate relationship between knowledge and information provides us with more information than knowledge about that intimate relationship.

Were you planning on sharing your thoughts on what that intimate relationship might be, or were you just trying to acquire some information, in hopes of augmenting your knowledge about it?

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I'd like to have a dialogue, so you are correct, I must initiate.

But now that a few of you have had a chance to wade through some of my expository posts, and have some context on me to reference, I'd like to try a bit more conversational style.

So I'll throw out a starting point, and let's see if we can generate some knowledge.

Information, to be communicated, must be rendered concrete by the initiator, and this sensible form must be transported to the recipient, who must convert the sensations evoked into perceptual cues, and interpret them via a conceptual framework more or less similar to that of the initiator. Otherwise, the message will be garbled at best.

Knowledge both derives from, and facilitates, the accumulation and organization of useful information. It is a process of optimization with respect to the flow of information.

Knowledge in an individual's mind acts as an information sieve!

- David

- David

Edited by icosahedron
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Better yet, one's mind acts as an information sieve. One's premises determine how one interprets the information. Knowledge is the logical product of correct premises held in the mind while observing existence, with existence being the field of validation for one's premises.

It's a boot-strapping procedure: start with no premises, gather some information and use it to create premises, that are used to more efficiently gather more information, and so on.

- David

Edited by icosahedron
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Icosahedron, what would you say is the difference between information and data? There is an enormous quantity of data in the World - does it become information when it is in human consciousness? Are information and data the same thing and if they are different, what are the stages that data must transition to become information, and vice versa?

For knowledge, Aristotle considers knowledge to exist on several levels, like a hierarchy. At the top of the hierarcy is scientific knowledge, which consists of all the information that can be believed in with complete confidence, because it is distinguished by virtue of having a proof. Therefore, the distinguishing feature separating information from knowledge, in my opinion, would be the proof. It is the proof that makes something knowledge as opposed to information.

Just throwing some ideas out for discussion, I wonder what you think?

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Knowledge is the mental grasp of facts of reality (as per Ayn Rand). That defines it perfectly clearly, I don't see anything to discuss about it.

As for information, it has many conflicting definitions, and there's no point in talking about those definitions without first establishing what actual existents the concept is supposed to include.

Obviously, it is supposed to include written content, like books, internet forums etc., but what about a picture taken by a camera, that only exists on the undeveloped film? Are all the contents of that picture information or not? What about the feed of a webcam no one is watching or storing?

Information and knowledge are considered to be synonyms of one another.

So you don't consider the contents of a book information?

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Data are recordable results of measurement.

Information is data mapped into a conceptual object. The concept provides the mapping, allowing the user of the concept to interpret the data as an instance of the concept. Concepts are formally analogous to classes in object oriented programming languages, and information is like an object instance of a class. The mapping of data to information is like a deserialization routine. (Note for completeness that data is trivially information by the identity mapping, but that is only trivially useful, as you'd expect.)

Knowledge is information organized into concepts by measurement omission (that is how one materially grasps reality).

It's a boot-strapping procedure: start with no concepts, just the axioms; gather some data and use it to infer simple concepts, thereby converting data into information; and use that information to induce further concepts. And so on.

- David

Edited by icosahedron
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"Where is the wisdom we have

lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have

lost in information?"

TS Eliot 1934

(Someone mentioned the hierarchy ...)

data-->information-->knowledge-->wisdom

Plus there's the bootstrap process: induction from hypothesis to theory via validation of predictions against data, that allows the formation of new abstractions -- which allow more robust interpretation of data.

- David

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Information is physical, existential. Since there is a conservation law for mass-energy, and information only exists in the form of mass-energy, information is conserved. This is an abstract technical point in physics, but it has been used to resolve a dispute between Stephen Hawking and Leonard Susskind as described in Susskind's popularized account The Black Hole War.

For information theory as a formalism with a physical basis see:

Basics of Information Theory (short)

Entropy and Information Theory (an e-book)

Information Theory Wikipedia

A Mathematical Theory of Communication by Claude Shannon

Quantities of the form H = -Σp
i
log p
i
... play a central role in information theory as measures of information, choice and uncertainty. The form of H will be recognized as that of entropy as defined in certain formulations of statistical mechanics where p
i
is the probability of a system being in cell i of its phase space. H is then, for example, the H in Boltzmann’s famous H theorem. We shall call H = -Σp
i
log p
i
the entropy of the set of probabilities p
1
, . . . ,p
n
. If x is a chance variable we will write H(x) for its entropy; thus x is not an argument of a function but a label for a number, to differentiate it from H(y) say, the entropy of the chance variable y.

Better is information-->data-->knowledge-->wisdom because there is already an existing conceptual framework that treats information as an existent which is objective, quantifiable and at the bottom of that proposed conceptual hierarchy.

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Information is physical, existential.

And you reference the existence of a conceptual framework called "information theory", which purports to talk of physical things, as evidence that the word "information" means what I call data.

I suppose information was undefined prior to physicists promulgating such an elegant theory.

Look up the word "information" on dictionary.com. The first definition given is: knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance.

That is what I mean by "information".

- David

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