Monday, April 21, 2008

Information Age

We have heard and read about ice age and stone age. Here we are in the information age surrounded by youtube, myspace, iphones, wikis, blogs, rss, the internet and wireless gadgets. But seriously where are we and more importantly where are we headed?. We have seen the commercial by Cisco systems calling the human network; Oracle positioning them selves as the information company; Sun calling the network is the computer; Apple silently dropping the word computer from its name and Google trying to be the one company that everyone loves. All these companies are technology companies and we hear some responding "I'm in information technology". But what is information? I ask myself.

It seems the contents in a human mind can be categorized as data, information, knowledge and wisdom; data being the least and wisdom being the most matured forms. It is my humble belief that computers are transitioning through a similar trajectory. Data is granular and it may or may not make sense. Information is basically sensible data; For instance we can get answers for questions like who are my top ten customers? or what is my best selling product?. Knowledge is a phase where new information could be synthesized based on the existing information; For instance: we think you might be interested in this product and naturally the customer's reaction is well how do you know?. Thats exactly the point the website or service "knows" more about you or is in the process of learning more about you. We are seeing this aspect more and more in our day to day aspects; For example try to Google for the netflix movie recommendation system called cinematch. I have to admit that computers have not mastered these areas as well as humans but they are getting there.

Now how would the world look like when computers mature to the next level: wisdom; wait a minute haven't we all seen this in Hollywood movies. One other difference between humans and computers is emotions. I recently came across this small robot called pleo and they say that there are some emotions to this robot: really? I would have to check.

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