Weblog van Spruit
Goal in life: Create order, think lateral.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Earth ship computer
Internet is becoming more and more the ship computer of star ship Earth, because it fulfills more and more information needs. Here are two definitions of data and information (see merriam-webster).
Data: factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or calculation.
Information: the communication or reception of knowledge or intelligence.
So data plus some work makes information. The Internet contains masses of data, or basic facts, that can be transformed to useful information by aggregating and combining them. The available data on the Internet is also increasing steeply and the techniques for aggregating and combining this data into meaningful information are improving. Therefore, Internet will have more capacity for reasoning, knowledge and intelligence. This is, in my eyes, the biggest forte of the Internet. It is even very disaster tolerant, because the data is dispersed over the whole planet. "I don't know" cannot be used as an excuse anymore.
An example are comparison sites where you can compare all sorts of products from insurances to computer parts. Very useful information, especially when the products are reviewed by customers. A not so nice example is pleaserobme.com. It shows which Tweets are not at home. This makes clear, again, that we have to be careful with the data we provide on the Internet, because also bad things can be done with the information that is inferred from it.
So which data is coming available on the Internet and how can we make useful or malignant information out of it?
Whereabouts of people, cars, commodities, telephones, computers.
Product information like specs, sales, prices.
Legacy data that is digitized, like scans from governance archives.
Behavioral statistics like number of people online, where from, how long, doing what.
Encyclopedic information like Wikipedia.
Personal data like e-mail address, home page, books bought (person attributes) and connections in social networks, group memberships (relationships).
Whereabouts of people that bought a certain book.
A summary of the sub culture that someone lives in.
Common factors of any group of Internet users.
Download statistics of songs.
Health of people living in an area.
The information potential of the Internet has since long been recognized. Even though, I expect to see a lot of new ways the Internet will provide information.
Labels: data, information, internet