Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Information = a pattern with consequences

What is information?

Information is a pattern with consequences.

This is a short definition of information that I wrote down a few years back and keep coming back to.  

Why define information? 

Because despite having declared ourselves an "information society" half a century ago we have not paid much attention to it.  Most people today cannot define what information is.  I believe that information does have certain fundamental properties and laws that shape many key aspects of the world we live in, the same way laws of thermodynamics do. Many of the big social and technological issues facing us today are already driven by those properties and many more will be.

The industrial revolution and the age of steam engines ushered a deep understanding (or at least appreciation) of the fundamental laws governing energy. They are part of basic education today. Defining and discussing fundamental properties and laws of information is not part of basic education, but it should be.

I believe that many of today's hottest issues can be and should be looked at through the lens of information and will from time-to-time comment on some of them. First up: information & life.

1 comment:

  1. Logos. Not ethos or pathos, but logos. Most people are logos-resistant, so you have to sugarcoat it with pathos and get alec baldwin to talk about it for ethos. Or you can just be honest and resonate on all three levels.

    PKD had a "laser beam from a satellite" metaphor for pure logos. We mortals must build our ethos and create media with pathos to communicate our logos; we can't just beam it at people. We must use containers.