From Signal … to Data … to Enlightenment

James Kelway recounts listening to Google's Bradley Horowitz describe how he / they think about data and metadata:


(Horowitz) told of everyday devices that have achieved ubiquity – that can now record your entire life digitally. Ubiquity is here.  The mobile phone is everywhere.


The problem as he saw it was that you can record everything but you don’t get another life to review it all. The challenge is harvesting metadata and defining context to give meaning to what we do.


So how do you use the information to a useful end? Horowitz (and Google) knows that the big problem is that we are dying from the start. Moments evaporate from the start.


A very pertinent point was that technology needs to adapt and enhance the human life. He asked how do we solve attention management? The moments of life that need revisiting amongst the morass of spam and junk we all wade through.


A key observation was that metadata is as important as the data itself.


Then he briefly showed a mental model that reflected the Google approach to data, starting at signal and working upwards.

  • enlightenment
  • wisdom
  • knowledge
  • information
  • data
  • signal 

I like this model and have been thinking about this from the enterprise perspective. 

If I think about enterprise transactions, conversations or relationships as social objects with the ability to send real-time signals, what is needed to take the signal and associated data to add value for users?  

How do we help users leverage signal, data and information to create knowledge, wisdom and insight?

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