What is Information?

There are many different ways of looking at information.

According to Wikipedia, Information is a sequence of signals that can be interpreted as a message. This message may contain data, wisdom or images but the message itself is the information.

The word comes from the latin informare, which means to give form to an idea. It could also be a pattern, but one which influences.  Unlike Schrodingers Cat, there is no need for a conscious mind to perceive this pattern in order for it to influence. DNA is a good example of this.

What we do know about information is that it can be measured, as the video below demonsatrates.

It is measured according to our ability to store it, transmit it and compute with it, and in these respects it has grown much larger in recent years. These jumps in growth have driven change in wealth, cultural production, transparency in government, and it has even been part of political revolutions, yet information growth in computers is nowhere near as large as natural systems such as the circulatory system. It is just evolving much faster at present.

There is a tendency to think of information studies as a new field, but it has a long history. It is just that people think it for granted. Below is a picture of the Bombos Ochre Plaque which is about 70,000 years old and it has marks on it which are obviously organised. This could be art or it could be a pattern for counting. The suggestion is that it is the latter because it is systematic rather than random.


One comment on “What is Information?

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