Information vs. Misinformation Systems

Published by Lex on

The technology is the same and the information could also be the same, but the possible interpretations are infinite.

And the best part is that the points of divergence can be from anywhere. There are many versions of the truth, but for years people in information technology have been seeking one data truth.

Data is built on language and language is malleable so it is nearly impossible to discern truth from language.

Code that. Yeah, code this. Oh and be sure to document it all. But documenting is hard. The best documentation demonstrates what you did, but it doesn’t usually reveal what wasn’t done. Sometimes what wasn’t done reveals more than what was done.

Information is transmitted via language and language is far from perfect in conveying meaning. Even assuming that information is conveyed with the best intentions, there is plenty of opportunity for misunderstanding. Language is always tricky and coding is trickydoesn’t translate well into code. And language that is intentionally ambiguous causes more problems.

Since there is so much information being thrown at us every second, we are outsourcing the information discernment to algorithms. And, of course, the algorithms spit out more information to feed back right into themselves.  This is not a virtuous cycle in the flywheel of knowledge.

Algorithms that we know little about generating more and more information. Even those who program the algorithm don’t know in advance what the algorithm will do with all the inputs and weights that are assigned to the inputs. This is misinformation of another variety.

Being comfortable with ambiguity is an important skill. Ambiguity is everywhere.  Trying to discern a level of accuracy and truth in every bit of information is a fool’s journey so we end up looking for shortcuts for truth.

The shortcuts can often be useful, but they are by no means foolproof. 

Are you better off with less information and more time to deliberate or more information and less time to consider each piece of information.

Either way you are missing something and you are missing something that can be important.