Informatics Final Exam

Question: What is the purpose of information?  How is information evaluated to be meaningful by both the sender and the receiver? This question is open ended, but please incorporate what we have talked and read about in class especially with respect to our classes on data and information as well as how computers work and how they make information meaningful.

Answer: Information (to me) is the power to give shape, meaning, detail reality, categorize, explain, and also to dictate importance to any thing that it may be used to represent. However, according to “The Nature of Information” it is the basis of all communication and it is the process of categorizing our environment to help us cope with it, that it has the dual purpose of defining reality and being destined to be shared. I believe we’re saying relatively the same thing. In stands to reason that without the sender and receiver of information about some thing, that thing would cease to exist in terms of information.

Information is evaluated as meaningful by it’s ability to communicate the desired message from the sender and the receiver. If a sender fails to send information in a way that is immediately understandable by the receiver the information while meaningful to the sender has lost it’s meaning and relevance by the time it has reached the intended recipient. An example of this would be a French-only speaking person trying to communicate with an English-only speaking person. Distortion is another factor. If information is distorted or disrupted by other elements near it the message may be lost as well. An example of this would be a billboard, that only has a few moments to capture the attention of a passerby, with a picture so shocking that the person is left focused on the image and none of the text and thusly the intended message is not received.

Information that is deemed meaningful is a message that is clearly understood on both sides of the conversation or exchange between agents. An example of this would be for me to say “baseball bat” to my computer and it return an image of a “baseball bat.” It is also deemed meaningful when groups of receivers interpret the information is valid and agree upon it’s meaning to give confirmation. It stands to reason that without another agent to communicate information to that reality loses it’s meaning as there is no one to share and confirm that the information has been received correctly. It may be in fact very scary to be the last agent on Earth, thinking of a global holocaust. I suppose that if you were the last agent on Earth you could continuously define your environment and sanity by conferring with yourself for acceptance and approval.