Victus Spiritus


Stylized Information will be the Sole Survivor

30 Dec 2009

Raw Data Isn't Enough

You can pick and choose your news and information sources from a growing and practically limitless variety. Why settle for anything less than an ideal blend of style and data suited to your tastes?

Consider the analogy of music to digital information*. A simple stepping through the scale covers the range of notes you'll likely hear, but it is the subtle sequence, the layers of notes, their pitch, harmonies, and rhythms that in unison draw your attention. Certainly, the language of notes is of little value without the style of music. In fact the contrary evidence is that many musicians create without consciously considering notes (my laymen preference). Each of us is drawn to very specific forms and collections of sounds and we wouldn't have it any other way. Why not take the same approach with information?

Optimal Knowledge Transfer Requires a Format Personalized to Our Preference

In much the same way raw information is becoming so freely available that simple knowledge isn't enough to hold our attention. After many years of reading journals I have come to the following conclusion.

It is not the complexity of most scientific journals which drives away laymen from reading. It is the jargon, and utterly dry lack of style.

In a form similar to an API for a program, each of us has a preferred method for learning and thinking. Information of that style and format we can instantly integrate into personal knowledge. The more free I am to come to my own conclusions about information, the more interested I become. The lack of restriction and hard assumptions allows for creative implementation in my world. There are few absolutes I can leverage to build something of lasting value, so their correlation to my interests are limited. I learned what I needed about most absolutes as a child (love, isolation, life, death, light, darkness, gravity, magnetism...). It is the subtleties of their interplay where depth of meaning resides. Those who rely soley on absolutes to craft styless information rapidly lose my interest.

*1, music as digital information : The motivation for this example is morning frustration with the amount of DJ talking in the Drum and Bass Arena podcast (almost a minute of every 3minute song!). Additionally, in digital signal processing we learned early on that almost any information signal can be represented by sums of sine waves, using the Fourier Transform. Music is a form of signal.