On the Codification of Information and the Value of Databanks

APRIL 8, 2005

  1. Uncodified knowledge cannot be transferred except by f2f interaction (apprenticeship etc)
  2. But knowledge codification is very time and space consuming (and much still remains implicit)
  3. As the amount of codified knowledge grows it becomes harder to find what you want

Hypothesis: Value of Information in Databank = Value of Information if it could be Accessed Perfectly x Ease of Finding Any Particular Item

Plausible to assume Ease of Finding Information = h(Amount) where h' less than 0

  • Let Amount = n
  • In standard Computer Science if we could sort items in some manner (by which we could also search). h(N) = log(n) (and sorting costs are n log(n) - bubble sort)
  • Suppose only option is brute comparison (and it is useful to find a negative i.e. that what you want isn't in there). Then this suggests E(search time) = n/2 and h(n) = 2/n

Plausible to have diminishing return for Value of Information if it could be Accessed Perfectly = f(Amount). So f'' less than 0. Thus f grows at less than linear rate (eventually ...). * If h has form suggested i.e. 2/n then we would have eventually Value of Information Bank is /decreasing/ in amount of information in databank

Example: explaining how to use a computer ...

Info on Size of Databanks

  1. How Much Information? Varian and Lyman, http://www.press.umich.edu/jep/06-02/lyman.html
  2. Ithiel De Sola Pool. Communications Flows: A Census in the United States and Japan. Elsevier Science, New York, 1984