Quantitative Biology


The Brain is Processing Information, not Data: Does Anybody Knows About That?

Authors: Emanuel Diamant

Discriminating and opposing “data” and “information” (as it is emphasized in the paper’s title) for most of the scientific community sounds like something odd and unnatural. Raised in the spirit of Shannon’s Information Theory, most of the scientific community is convinced that data and information are inseparable. Nevertheless, over the last decade we witness a growing recognition that Shannon’s Information Theory is wrong, or speaking more politely, is limited only to data communication issues. Today, distinguishing data and information processing is gradually becoming a popular and widespread trend. However, because this trend is missing a firm theoretical underpinning, it looks a bit messy and inconsistent. Despite of this, the paradigm shift in contemporary science is clearly evident – from a data processing (computational) approach we are firstly moving to an information processing (cognitive) approach. (“Cognitive” here implies “capable of information processing”). Undeniably, Computational biology, Computational neuroscience, Computational linguistics (and so on) are being replaced today by Cognitive biology, Cognitive neuroscience, Cognitive linguistics, and so on. However, this tendency is hampered by a lack of understanding about what is “information processing”. Subsequently, a question “what is information?” immediately rise up. A consensus answer to it does not exist. I believe I have the answer. But instead of repetitive explanations about what is information, I prefer to bring an informational perspective to the everyday practice of scientific exploration, especially biological and neuroscience explorations. Maybe this will be more advantageous.

Comments: 10 Pages. A preliminary version presented at The ISIS Summit “The Information Society at the Crossroads”, Vienna, Austria, 3–7 June 2015

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[v1] 2017-12-18 09:21:04

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