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quantified entity specific information content

measure information absorption capacities and judge data sets with them
  [vote for,

"Entity" can be anything that processes information.
Examples can include an ipad, a human child, a chicken, or a calculator.

"information" can be any data in any quality, quantity, or form. Examples can include the actual sight of the grand canyon, a paper about agriculture printed on paper, the visual of a nude of Lucy Liu on a computer screen, or an .mp3 on rotating magnetic storage.

"k" means a thousand of something. Used here it refers to a thousand bits

For a given entity and a given set of information it should be possible to describe approximate information absorption ability the entity will have in a given time and the likely information absorption activity the entity will exhibit under the circumstance.

For example under any circumstances the usable information a chicken would get from each of the examples above are, respectively:"big space there","squiggles that probably aren't bugs","surface",and (no information obtainable).

I propose describing that quantity of information as a minimum and maximum number of bits. Since a chicken can process dimensions more poorly as distance increases the view of the grand canyon would represent only a few bits. In contrast a digital camera, while being less intelligent than a chicken could store magabits of information from the same input. The paper on agriculture would represent between the number of squiggles a smart chicken can remember and the number of squiggles a dumb chicken can remember. The nude would represent about the same amount of information for any chicken since it's not going to process it as a picture. The .mp3 could not tell a chicken anything.
So for a chicken for those data quantities may be 10 bits, 150-400 bits, 40 bits, 0 bits.

This measurement would be more useful when the approximate amount of usable information a person can receive is considered. While there are orders of magnitude of difference in the abilities of different people to process different information, describing the person more closely gives a closer approximation of the amount of information she can get from a given input.

At an extreme end of the analysis one may say that a 20 year old intelligent plumber who has a high school education and little other work experience probably can use 2k-8k, 10k-20k, 1k-4k, and 0k from the inputs described above.
Voice, Mar 16 2011


       What if I tattoo a chicken with the complete works of Shakespear? Suddenly your chicken has increased its bit-potential.   

       Also, are you only referring to visual inputs here?   

       Also, you're measuring 'absorbtion' what about recall? e.g. a camera on the top of an orbiting spaceship can absorb the light and position from a billion stars, and retain that information indefinitely. A human might absorb just as much, but be unable to retain it in detail say one month later. Meanwhile, a camera could record a page from Moby Dick, while a human would be able to read it, recall from it, and make a connection between it, and the Starbuck character from Battlestar Galactica, both the original Dirk Benedict, and the re-imagined, Kara Thrace character played by Katee Sackhoff, and the Starbucks coffee chain based in Seattle Washington, birthplace of Jimmi Hendrix, who released "The Wind Cries Mary", the name Mary being the name of Starbuck's wife in Moby Dick, and a hundred other connections, both circular and otherwise. How do you measure that? (And indeed, do you want to?)   

       What does this measurement tell you, and how can you tell the difference between useful data and noise? And how do you account for data that's encoded in a way that the receiving object isn't sensitive to (e.g. the mpg thing encoded in a series of microscopic magnetic polarities)
zen_tom, Mar 17 2011

       Wait, I'm still wondering about the chicken. And that Jimi Hendrix song holds a special significance for me.
normzone, Mar 17 2011

       I would be interested to see a conversion factor for different types of data entering a human mind. For instance, the brain stores memories completly different from a computer, so how much "storage space" does a view of the grand canyon use in a human, and how much space on a computer would be required to store the same amount of information?
DIYMatt, Mar 17 2011

       Sometimes A cannot be quantified in terms of B. This would be one of those cases.
WcW, Mar 17 2011


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