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Difference Between Knowledge and Information

tree-of-knowledgeKnowledge vs Information

The human mind’s content is based on the kinds of things that one interacts with on a daily basis. Many a time people perceive things based on either what they have seen, experienced, heard, read, learned or inferred after some experimentation. These perceptions are then categorized in the mind as data, information, knowledge, understanding or wisdom. Unlike wisdom, information and knowledge perceptions are as a result of what the brain has recorded in the past. That said, we need to know how knowledge differs from information (if it does) and if one can exist without the other.

Information refers to data that has been given some meaning by way of relational connection. In computing terms it is data that has been processed. The ‘meaning’ applied to the data may not necessarily be useful. For instance, data stored in a database can be processed by a procedure or a program to give information about something, for example a banking application can determine how a particular account balance increased by returning the record of the credit that occurred to that account using data stored in a database somewhere, so ‘information’ would have been retrieved about that transaction. It is important to know that without information, you will not have knowledge.

So what is knowledge?

Knowledge is the concise and appropriate collection of information in a way that makes it useful. Knowledge refers to a deterministic process where patterns within a given set of information are ascertained. We can also positively say that when a person memorizes some information about something, then they have knowledge about it. That knowledge will have some useful and even applicable use to them but even if that’s the case, that knowledge doesn’t in itself provide for integration such as would infer further knowledge. Take the example of elementary school kids who memorize knowledge of the multiplication table (times table), for instance like the result of 3 times 3 is 9(3*3=9), because they have amassed knowledge of the table. However, the kids will not be able to respond positively when asked the result of 2300*150 as that entry isn’t in the table. It takes true analytical ability and the ability to reduce it to empirical factual knowledge, not just some memorized set of knowledge.

Summary:
1.  Information is processed data whereas knowledge is information that is modeled to be useful.
2.  You need information to be able to get knowledge.
3.  Information deals with the way data is related while knowledge examines patterns within a given set of information.
4.  To get knowledge you need some cognitive and analytical ability while for information you do not need cognitive ability.


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