Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom by Gene Bellinger , Durval Castro , Anthony Mills There is probably no segment of activity in the world attracting as much attention at present as that of knowledge management. What follows is the current level of understanding I have been able to piece together regarding data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. I figured to understand one of them I had to understand all of them. According to Russell Ackoff, a systems theorist and professor of organizational change, the content of the human mind can be classified into five categories: Data: symbols Information: data that are processed to be useful; provides answers to "who", "what", "where", and "when" questions Knowledge: application of data and information; answers "how" questions Understanding: appreciation of "why" Wisdom: evaluated understanding.
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Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom by Gene Bellinger , Durval Castro , Anthony Mills There is probably no segment of activity in the world attracting as much attention at present as that of knowledge management. What follows is the current level of understanding I have been able to piece together regarding data, information, knowledge, and wisdom.
I figured to understand one of them I had to understand all of them. According to Russell Ackoff, a systems theorist and professor of organizational change, the content of the human mind can be classified into five categories: Data: symbols Information: data that are processed to be useful; provides answers to "who", "what", "where", and "when" questions Knowledge: application of data and information; answers "how" questions Understanding: appreciation of "why" Wisdom: evaluated understanding.
Ackoff indicates that the first four categories relate to the past; they deal with what has been or what is known. Only the fifth category, wisdom, deals with the future because it incorporates vision and design. With wisdom, people can create the future rather than just grasp the present and past.
It simply exists and has no significance beyond its existence in and of itself. It can exist in any form, usable or not. It does not have meaning of itself. In computer parlance, a spreadsheet generally starts out by holding data. This "meaning" can be useful, but does not have to be. In computer parlance, a relational database makes information from the data stored within it. Knowledge is a deterministic process.
When someone "memorizes" information as less-aspiring test-bound students often do , then they have amassed knowledge. This knowledge has useful meaning to them, but it does not provide for, in and of itself, an integration such as would infer further knowledge.
For example, elementary school children memorize, or amass knowledge of, the "times table". But when asked what is " x ", they can not respond correctly because that entry is not in their times table. To correctly answer such a question requires a true cognitive and analytical ability that is only encompassed in the next level In computer parlance, most of the applications we use modeling, simulation, etc. It is cognitive and analytical. It is the process by which I can take knowledge and synthesize new knowledge from the previously held knowledge.
The difference between understanding and knowledge is the difference between "learning" and "memorizing". People who have understanding can undertake useful actions because they can synthesize new knowledge, or in some cases, at least new information, from what is previously known and understood. That is, understanding can build upon currently held information, knowledge and understanding itself.
In computer parlance, AI systems possess understanding in the sense that they are able to synthesize new knowledge from previously stored information and knowledge.
It calls upon all the previous levels of consciousness, and specifically upon special types of human programming moral, ethical codes, etc. It beckons to give us understanding about which there has previously been no understanding, and in doing so, goes far beyond understanding itself.
It is the essence of philosophical probing. Unlike the previous four levels, it asks questions to which there is no easily-achievable answer, and in some cases, to which there can be no humanly-known answer period. Wisdom is therefore, the process by which we also discern, or judge, between right and wrong, good and bad.
I personally believe that computers do not have, and will never have the ability to posses wisdom. Wisdom is a uniquely human state, or as I see it, wisdom requires one to have a soul, for it resides as much in the heart as in the mind. And a soul is something machines will never possess or perhaps I should reword that to say, a soul is something that, in general, will never possess a machine.
Personally I contend that the sequence is a bit less involved than described by Ackoff. The following diagram represents the transitions from data, to information, to knowledge, and finally to wisdom, and it is understanding that support the transition from each stage to the next. Understanding is not a separate level of its own.
Data represents a fact or statement of event without relation to other things. Ex: It is raining. Information embodies the understanding of a relationship of some sort, possibly cause and effect. Ex: The temperature dropped 15 degrees and then it started raining.
Knowledge represents a pattern that connects and generally provides a high level of predictability as to what is described or what will happen next. Ex: If the humidity is very high and the temperature drops substantially the atmospheres is often unlikely to be able to hold the moisture so it rains. Wisdom embodies more of an understanding of fundamental principles embodied within the knowledge that are essentially the basis for the knowledge being what it is.
Wisdom is essentially systemic. Ex: It rains because it rains. And this encompasses an understanding of all the interactions that happen between raining, evaporation, air currents, temperature gradients, changes, and raining. Yet, there is still a question regarding when is a pattern knowledge and when is it noise. Consider the following: Abugt dbesbt regtc uatn s uitrzt. The box is very heavy. The box has a door on the front of it.
When I open the box it has food in it. It is colder inside the box than it is outside. You usually find the box in the kitchen. There is a smaller compartment inside the box with ice in it. When you open the door the light comes on. When you move this box you usually find lots of dirt underneath it.
Junk has a real habit of collecting on top of this box. What is it? A refrigerator. You knew that, right? At some point in the sequence you connected with the pattern and understood it was a description of a refrigerator. From that point on each statement only added confirmation to your understanding. If you lived in a society that had never seen a refrigerator you might still be scratching your head as to what the sequence of statements referred to.
Also, realize that I could have provided you with the above statements in any order and still at some point the pattern would have connected. When the pattern connected the sequence of statements represented knowledge to you. References: Ackoff, R.
Data, Information, Evidence, and Knowledge:
Like other hierarchy models, the Knowledge Pyramid has rigidly set building blocks — data comes first, information is next, then knowledge follows and finally wisdom is on the top. Each step up the pyramid answers questions about the initial data and adds value to it. The more questions we answer, the higher we move up the pyramid. In other words, the more we enrich our data with meaning and context, the more knowledge and insights we get out of it. At the top of the pyramid, we have turned the knowledge and insights into a learning experience that guides our actions. Data Data is a collection of facts in a raw or unorganized form such as numbers or characters. However, without context, data can mean little.
History[ edit ] Danny P. Wallace, a professor of library and information science , explained that the origin of the DIKW pyramid is uncertain: The presentation of the relationships among data , information , knowledge , and sometimes wisdom in a hierarchical arrangement has been part of the language of information science for many years. Although it is uncertain when and by whom those relationships were first presented, the ubiquity of the notion of a hierarchy is embedded in the use of the acronym DIKW as a shorthand representation for the data-to-information-to-knowledge-to-wisdom transformation. Eliot in The play contains wisdom-knowledge-information in the following lines: Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Framework for the transition from data to knowledge left and what each level is good for right reprinted from [ 3 ]. I think that information is data in context. Information is data that have been processed so it is clear what they are about. Once they are collected and contextualized, data are information. According to this view, all information is data, but not all data are information. Evidence is information compared Information thus conceived can give rise to evidence, which has been defined as "information bearing on the truth or falsity of a proposition".
What is the DIKW Pyramid?
Although Ackoff did not present the hierarchy graphically, he has also been credited with its representation as a pyramid. Henry ",  in a journal article. Information science , Zins argues, studies data and information, but not knowledge, as knowledge is an internal subjective rather than an external universal—collective phenomenon. This distinction is often obscured in definitions of data in terms of " facts ".