Jun 062018

This post retrieves a concept from lecture n. 1 and discusses its impact in the context of support to information systems of institutions and organisations in developing countries by not-for-profit international organisations.

This is the first post of a series of six posts according to the mid term assignment titled “Digital Portfolio and Written Assignment”.

Slide n. 3 of the introductory lesson titled “Introduction to Information Systems:
What is IS?” lists a series of business definition of the term “information”, the fourth definition states the following: “Data that can lead to an increase in understanding and decrease in uncertainty”. I’ll interpret the statement in the context of theme defined as follows: “Support to Institutions and organizations in developing countries by Not-for-profit International Organisations”.

The statement is potent, has a profound influences to a wide audience: journalists, students, politicians, voters, managers, and a lot of more human categories. It can occur on a daily, monthly, yearly base, the frequency depends on the context and the specific matter interested by data. It can have positive or negative effects, it depends on who has the power to control it.

Actually that is one interesting point related to the statement, the increase in understanding and decrease in uncertainty depends on who or what has the direct control on the data and the capacity to turn them in readable information.

The statement is a key for detecting fake news, in general for detecting all those activities that lead to the opposite meaning of the statement: decrease in understanding and increase in uncertainty. Those activities are often performed on purpose.

The political and social context in which data are managed determines the ownership, the effect of information on audience, the strategy of data management.

Where politics has a strong influences on society data processing is opaque, the resulting information could be filtered and even modified without direct control from the audience.

Conversely where society has strong influence on politics data processing is transparent, the process is available in the same way as the data. Information is subjected to an immediate feedback that helps in improving the quality of data.

In the first case the statement needs to be supported by further theory. The two cases represent two different extremes, often the reality lies on a point of the line drawn from those extremes. Moreover the point on the line is not always fixed, can change its position depending on the dynamics between politics and society.

The reality obliges to measure the validity of the statement depending on the context.

One possible method is to measure the difference between the knowledge and the perception generated by the information. This post cannot enter in the infinite details of the argument, but it is useful to remind that, in general, knowledge can be explained by means of the human language, while perception is much more difficult to explain. This difference could be quantified and available for measuring the uncertainty of the information.

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