Data, Information and Knowledge

For my purposes, I define:

  • Data is the “in flight” potential to induce informational change; more specifically, data is a signal or energy (boson)
  • Information is a particular state of matter (fermion)
  • Knowledge is information encoded in the mind and available to our self-aware cognitive processes (consciousness)
    • Information encoded into the nervous system but not available to self-aware cognitive processes I will continue to associate with the more inert moniker of “information”
    • Wisdom is another matter entirely!

I like these definitions because they seem to help to clarify concepts in common with both information theory and physics.

Is “Bilski v. Kappos” the Beginning of the End for Patents?

Listen to, or read the Supreme Court’s fascinating oral arguments for Bilski v. Kappos.  I can’t help but think: given the difficulty in defining “machine” or “transformation”, does this portend a day when patents are no longer properly definable?  Is the distinction between “abstract idea” and “technology” ultimately arbitrary?

If you care at all about software patents and intellectual property, you really should pay attention to this case.  (If you are an I/T architect, I strongly suggest you do.)

In the end the Supreme Court said that the machine-or-transformation test was not the only test which determines patent eligibility and that all aspects of the patent must be considered.  Though not producing of definite rules, this opinion leaves open the possibility for patenting pure software algorithms.  To not do so, the Supreme Court reasoned, might prevent unknown future technologies of importance from being patented.  (The ambiguity is meant to error on the side of the unknown.)

Listen to, or read the discussion for yourself.

Metaphysical Ontology

When creating an object-oriented analysis of anything, perhaps a business problem, do you assume that the categorical hierarchy you develop reflects the “true nature” of the phenomena you are analyzing?  Do you assume a metaphysical ontology?

How does ontological categorization differ from category theory in mathematics?