Knowledge vs. Information

Most of the people agree that knowledge and information are two distinct concepts. But do they also agree upon the differences that separate the two concepts? Not really.

In my opinion information refers to general data expressed by numbers, words, images, sounds and so on. Bear in mind that this data can be elaborated or not. The observed outcome of a scientific experiment, for example, is data that has not being elaborated. A report explaining the findings of such experiment, on the other hand, is elaborated data.

Knowledge refers to the practical use of information. While information can be transported, stored or shared without many difficulties the same can not be said about knowledge. Knowledge necessarily involves a personal experience. Referring back to the scientific experiment, a third person reading the results will have information about it, while the person who conducted the experiment personally will have knowledge about it.

It is very important to have this difference clear, specially in our Internet-based society. Today information is freely available to anyone anywhere in the world. An eighteen year old boy from the Sri Lanka could easily search on the web and find all the information ever produced about an Adenoidectomy. But I am not sure whether I would like to have this same boy performing that surgery on myself… what about you?

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