Somewhat formalised in ITIL, there’s a concept called the knowledge ‘hierarchy’, abbreviated as DIKW. It looks like this:
- Data – Something is red, and round.
- Information – It’s a tomato.
- Knowledge – Tomato is a fruit.
- Wisdom – You don’t put tomato in a fruit salad.
In itself, it seems a fairly straight-forward concept, but it can be readily expanded to highlight what the information age is all about:
- Data is – It exists and is collected, or it’s created and curated;
- Information frees – The accumulation of and useful presentation of data allows us to better see the world around us;
- Knowledge grows – With each generation, our overall knowledge of our world, of the universe, continues to increase;
- Wisdom gives opportunities. Wisdom allows us to make better decisions, to work in better ways, to achieve better things for ourselves, our communities, and those who follow us.
That’s the excitement for me of the information age. Not the continual accumulation of data or information, but the ever increasing global pool of knowledge, and from that, a wiser human race.