One of the challenges of the next internet revolution is to turn data into wisdom. That means transforming data into information, information into knowledge, and knowledge into wisdom.
The internet of things revolution is going to help us to achieve this goal. The question is how?
First of all it’s going to be possible by collecting a huge amount of data and this is a trend, which already exists and seems to grow exponentially. More and more sensors are harvesting data everywhere, governments are collecting data, and more and more entrepreneurs are starting to get interested in connected objects and hardware in general. Even Microsoft is launching its first hardware device in more than 30 years! The internet is predicted to double in size every 5 years. That means more data exchanged, collected, and processed. The question that you might want to ask is what is data? Data is basically a raw statement about an observation. There is an amount X of Y things in this population or I did X amount of Y within a year.
Second of all we need intelligent objects and sensors collecting useful data. It is a first step to help data skimming and to avoid an information overload. For this reason we, as humans, need to be careful because we are programming these systems. We have to meticulously choose, which data are more relevant than others and we’ve got to be as scientific as possible to avoid biases. This is where data is transformed into information. Information puts data into context, the information makes data understandable. There is an amount X of Y in this population because Z reasons.
Thirdly, these connected objects are helping us to make decision by making us conscious of our behaviour and our environment. They are like an extension of our brain. Herbert Simon, the famous economist, came up with the concept of bounded rationality. This theory says that “in decision-making, rationality of individuals is limited by the information they have, the cognitive limitations of their minds, and the finite amount of time they have to make a decision”. What if machines could help us to overcome these limitations. We could be able to make better, faster, smarter decisions almost as if the information was total and perfect. Data are turned into knowledge. For me knowledge is your usage of information. What you can or will do with it. Because I know that there are an X amount of Y in this population I can do Z.
Finally we need to use this knowledge to improve our life, to improve life on earth, to enhance happiness, to fight misbehaviours, and to leave in peace. Long story short, to be better human beings. This is probably the hardest part of the process. Transforming knowledge into wisdom. “Wisdom is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgements and actions in keeping with this understanding”. How to manage, transform, and diffuse knowledge collected by devices for it to become wisdom?. This is an open question, almost a philosophical one with many ramifications needing further exploration.