5 years, 6 months ago


Link: http://www.etc-architect.com/?p=215

I am sure if you are familiar with Faraday’s dilemma. Faraday who was a great scientist observed that when you drop a piece of normal steel into concentrated nitric acid nothing happen, but if you drop it in diluted nitric acid or dilute the concentrated nitric acid tell will dissolve itself over time. The reason for this is that on the surface of the steel almost instantly a coating of an at other times unstable salt will occur, that stops the otherwise expected oxidation process.

The same thing is what is often happening with information, where too much of information often leads to a distorted evaluation or otherwise even to a paralysis. Once you dilute the information the paralysis will stop and distortions get away. The problem however is that this is easier said than done, as information can mean quantity and/or quality. Usually the problem is on the quantity and very seldom on the quality. Quality only get us into problems when we cannot make decisions without the full quality of information, however since the people that get looked into this total quality bias are usually overruled by more pragmatic people this problem is less of an actual problem. 

That said you as a reader of this blog may be a mathematical precise person who is unable to accept anything less than the perfect quality of information. If you are one of these persons please take a moment to remember and look up the Godel’s incompleteness theorem by which anything that is mathematical complete cannot be correct and anything that is correct cannot be complete.

For all of us that are not struggling with accuracy beyond a reasonable degree the problem of information is one of quantity. The question of quantity should be steered at from that of a statistical analysis as if we exceed the statistically mean we are likely to go strain. However this way of looking at information usually just gets us into more problems as we often lack the statistics and often we are researching areas where no one has taken a fully documented stake at. I these areas it is therefore often best when we gather a certain amount of information and then then play it to a peer to see at what point the information wins him over. Usually that amount will then be more enough to satisfy people that are in other positions. However you will often see that people need further dilution of that information. If that happens just think of Faraday with his dilemma on nitric acid, as at least it helps me in similar situations.

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