Skepticism in the information age Part 2 : Information


Pronunciation: \ˌin-fər-ˈmā-shən\
Function: noun
Date: 14th century

1: the communication or reception of knowledge or intelligence

2 a (1): knowledge obtained from investigation, study, or instruction (2): intelligence , news (3): facts , data b: the attribute inherent in and communicated by one of two or more alternative sequences or arrangements of something (as nucleotides in DNA or binary digits in a computer program) that produce specific effects c (1): a signal or character (as in a communication system or computer) representing data (2): something (as a message, experimental data, or a picture) which justifies change in a construct (as a plan or theory) that represents physical or mental experience or another construct d: a quantitative measure of the content of information ; specifically : a numerical quantity that measures the uncertainty in the outcome of an experiment to be performed

3: the act of informing against a person4: a formal accusation of a crime made by a prosecuting officer as distinguished from an indictment presented by a grand jury

-- source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/information

Based on the first definition, information is the communication or the reception of knowledge or intelligence. As we trace back the source of knowledge, we came across data, and now, information. Information is where data (specifically linked data) becomes useful. Useful in a sense that process data can be "interpreted" and that is where learning begins.

Consider this example. When you were a kid, there are tons of data around trying to get into your head. Many are recognizable, others are not. Since there is not enough experience yet to process the data, most of them are rejected until the data is "fine-tuned" to our specific needs.

A primitive form of Information Filtering, if you will, http://cmc.dsv.su.se/select/information-filtering.html(Primitive as it is confined only to filter information through a single media). Much like info filtering in Computer Science, primitive info filtering has its rules and attributes. I am not a psychologist, so I leave the psychology to them. I'll talk about instead information filtering in computer science. Based on the rules and attributes of information filtering, we can come up with 2 types: automatic and social. Of the two, the more complex, believe it or not, is the first one. Yes, automatic information filtering is more complex because (a) Computers are not that powerful enough to think for themselves and (b) "Intelligent" information filtering, in reality, often needs human intervention, which, falls back as social filtering. Search engines are good example of social filtering through "keywords."

Using this "keywords", we usually "come up" ( another term for generalize ) with concepts. This process is called association. It is the time we use informations, team them up with other information and call them experiences ( level up! ). Example: we know that the term "hot" means danger from fire. When we get somehow burned by "a steaming object," we tie it up with the term "hot" and when we saw "a steaming object" again, we always assume that it is indeed "hot." In this case, our experience tells us that finding "a steaming object" will always lead us to finding "hot." So we stay this way unless there will be another experience that tells us otherwise. For example, we again saw "a steaming object" but this time, the "steaming object" is composed of "ice." Of course, at first we can't believe that the "steaming object" is not "hot" as we used to conclude. It is when we experienced ( using one or more of our senses ) that we can give exemption to our "a steaming object" is equal to "hot" convention in the case of the "ice object".

I haven't done artificial intelligence before, but as I have learned theoretically, if we can combine objects, methods and their properties, create association fast enough to access other objects faster than a blink of an eye ( technically, information should be faster than the speed of light, but since the speed of the light is the speed limit of the universe ...) to be able to emulate to some extent, the function of the complex brain of an insect.

In the next post, I will discuss how skepticism plays an important role in defining "objects"