Module 2.1 – The Porridge Pot

RitaE / Pixabay

This section has changed my perspective on the concept of information.  Prior to this unit, I had seen this word to be simply informative. A transmission of knowledge from one to another.  The continuum was very helpful in understanding the difference between raw data, information and knowledge. I particularly liked how the types of knowledge was described.  It made me think of oral traditions of many cultures, that transmit vast knowledge and traditions across generations via story telling. In the eras of near universal illiteracy, information was communicated via stories and tales by tribal elders.  Even now, Indigenous peoples across the world maintain their societal traditions and cultures by a rich history of oral traditions.

It was interesting to describe information as a commodity.  Arguably, one could use schooling as an example of information as a commodity, as it is transmitted from experts to apprentices at a cost.  The very nature of information and its ability to be transferred from one person to another without loss to the original person makes it an excellent business practice.  In fact, one could go further and suggest that education systems use information and its inherent properties as an unending source of income. I find this rather amusing as it reminds me of the story of the magic porridge pot  by the Brothers Grimm.

In the children’s story, the porridge pot overflowed and overwhelmed the town.  This is very similar to what is happening with the information quantities present in society today.  The attributes of information that make it such a viable commodity also means that it is being constantly created and this ‘self multiplication’ is leading to an glut of material.  Combined with technology that is rapidly changing and expanding, this overabundance of knowledge is increasing dramatically as our ability to produce information is also increasing.

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