What is information?

by Konstantin Weiss on March 10, 2019

Anything that helps reduce #uncertainty so that you can make better #predictions about #outcomes .

Jorge Arango, from the "Living in Information" book

So this is what Jorge proposes, and I like this statement a lot. It is particularly helpful in my mind, since you can derive a lot from it.

E.g. "anything" can be (the perception of):

Also, "anything" is always relative, since it relates to the outcome. That means, if person A is concerned with outcome X, and the "anything" helps to predict it, it is information for A. For person B the "anything" is not information, if it does not help reduce uncertainty about outcome Y (hence it is then noise, or disinformation).

Moreover, with this definition in mind, there can't be "too much information". There is only too much noise in form of content, stuff, events, anything that prevents you from reducing uncertainty. For example, An email with 20 paragraphs about unexpected upcoming construction work in your child's school is less information than the sentence "school will be closed tomorrow" with no further explanation, when you plan the usual routine to send your kid to school.

Finally, the "help make better predictions" aspect reminds us that information enables people to take action. Information has no goal in itself, it is meant to serve us (the perceivers and receivers).

Check out Jorge's episode 0 of his podcast "The Informed Life" to get more context.





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