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INFORMATION ENTROPY
By Oliver Reichenstein, iA Inc.
2012
15,000,000
Books
51,117,600
New Websites
1,000,000,000+
Facebook Users
1,100,000,000
Smartphone Subscribers
2,400,000,000
Total Users
182,500,000,000
Tweets
380,000,000,000
Photos
985,000,000,000
Facebook Likes
1,500,000,000,000
Google Searches
8,600,000,000,000
Short Messages
52,852,000,000,000
E-mails
1 Trillion Dollars
15 Trillion Dollars
52 Trillion Dollars
Information entropy
52 Trillion in 1$ Bills
QUALITY
52 Trillion
68% spam
99.99% in the trash.
48,000,000,000 hours of YouTube.
1,000,000,000 x “Gangnam Style”.
99.999% Trash.
Information entropy
Information entropy
Information entropy
Information entropy
Information entropy
Information entropy
Information entropy
Information entropy
The Web
has become like
TV.
It’s noisy.
It’sboring.
It is too much mostly
Advert
iseme
nt.
WHY?
“When you're young, you look at
television and think, There's a
conspiracy. The networks have conspired
to dumb us down. But when you get a
little older, you realize that's not true.
The networks are in business to give
people exactly what they want. That's a
far more depressing thought. Conspiracy
is optimistic! … We can have a
revolution! But the networks are really
in business to give people what they
want. It's the truth.” —Steve Jobs
The medium is a mirror. Because
humans are messy, everything will get
even messier.
:(
“Language allows information to
accumulate more and more rapidly as
time passes. Due to language I can
receive signals from Confucius,
Heraclitus, Plato, et cetera, et cetera.
Now the acceleration of information has
reached a point where I think it’s totally
out of control and nobody can stop it.”
— Robert Anton Wilson
We are doing with our mind what we
have successfully done to our
environment. We are making a
mess.
Information entropy
Information entropy
ENTROPY
1. A measure of the unavailable energy
in a closed thermodynamic system that
is also usually considered to be a
measure of the system's disorder...
Broadly: the degree of disorder or
uncertainty in a system
2a :  the degradation of the matter and
energy in the universe to an ultimate
state of inert uniformity
2b :  a process of degradation or
running down or a trend to disorder
3:  chaos, disorganization, randomness
1. A measure of the unavailable energy
in a closed thermodynamic system that
is also usually considered to be a
measure of the system's disorder...
Broadly: the degree of disorder or
uncertainty in a system
2a. The degradation of the matter and
energy in the universe to an ultimate
state of inert uniformity
2b :  a process of degradation or
running down or a trend to disorder
3:  chaos, disorganization, randomness
1. A measure of the unavailable energy
in a closed thermodynamic system that
is also usually considered to be a
measure of the system's disorder...
Broadly: the degree of disorder or
uncertainty in a system
2a. The degradation of the matter and
energy in the universe to an ultimate
state of inert uniformity
2b. A process of degradation or running
down or a trend to disorder
3:  chaos, disorganization, randomness
1. A measure of the unavailable energy
in a closed thermodynamic system that
is also usually considered to be a
measure of the system's disorder...
Broadly: the degree of disorder or
uncertainty in a system
2a. The degradation of the matter and
energy in the universe to an ultimate
state of inert uniformity
2b. A process of degradation or running
down or a trend to disorder
3. Chaos, disorganization, randomness
Information entropy
Information entropy
WHY SO NEGATIVE?
“Iteration scales collaboration: Lots of
people making small changes. Just as
inaccuracy scales knowledge: Knowledge
can't get huge unless it's allowed to be
wrong sometimes... and just as
messiness scales meaning.”
—David Weinberger
Messiness scales meaning? How so?
Automatically? Because it’s… all…
like… you know… awesome?
WHAT DO WE KNOW FOR SURE?
“From a scientific point of view,
optimism and pessimism are
objectionable: optimism assumes, or
tempts to prove, that the universe exists
to please us, and pessimism that it
exists to displease us. Scientifically,
there is no evidence that it is concerned
with us either one or the other way.”
—Bertrand Russell
Information entropy
Information entropy
Information entropy
Information entropy
We are good at cleaning up, but making
a mess and ignoring it, this is what we
are really good at. And in both cases
technology works as an amplifier.
Is it pessimistic to assume that what
analog technology has done to our
environment, information technology is
doing to our minds?
Information Entropy.
“…commodification [of personal data]
is not happening against the wishes of
ordinary citizens but because this is
what ordinary citizen-consumer want.
Look no further than Google’s email
and Amazon’s Kindle to see that no
one is forced to use them: people do
it willingly.”
–Evgeny Morozov
(yes, that [negative] guy)
CAN WE DESIGN OR PROGRAM
THIS AWAY?
1. Reduction creates essence.
(We can do a better job at focussing on essence.)
2. Silence and pauses give structure.
(Meaning needs Pauses. Thought needs room. We can improve our own diet.)
3. Details clear things up.
(And they show that you care as a human being for another human being.)
4. Conscious repetition is fun.
(Redundancy makes a message memorable, identifiable and solid.
Kids love repetition. Repetition is fun. Repetition is funny. “New” is overrated.)
5. Negativity motivates.
(Don’t be negative? Branding negativity as evil and unwise is utter ideological
nonsense. Negativity is as evil as the color black, it is as unwise as the word “No”.
There is nothing wrong with negativity. Negativity has its place in communication and
so does positivity. Ultimately, negativity can be a much stronger motivator than
positivity. If you censor negativity, how do you grow? To grow, you better embrace
negativity. What you should do, is trying to avoid all optimism and pessimism. That’ll
help you seeing reality for what it is and not for what you wish it to be.)
6. Slowness is powerful.
(There is no need to increase overall user engagement, we engage enough. It’d be nice
to start shaping technology so it slows us down a little.)
…and?
OK, NOW ENOGH WITH THE
NEGATIVITY AND THE REPETITION
AND THE SLOWNESS. GIVE US
SOMETHING…
NEW!
Design is a process.
Writing is a process.
Business is a process.
(Improving the quality not a matter of good intentions. It’s how you do it. It’s a matter
of process.)
If the process sucks, the result sucks.
(There is no killer method to solve all problems. Problem solving is a process. Always
focus on the process, if you’r unhappy with the result.)
Design Processes.
Editorial Processes.
Business Processes.
(Improve your team’s performance? Maybe invest into improving the internal
communication before you raise salaries, hire more staff and move into an even cooler
office? Improve the financial industry? Well maybe you should look at how they
communicate with each other, how they read and write, how they communicate
internally before you you try to fix their results.)
Look at internal information processes
before you paint a nice picture of a
corporation on the outside.
(One can feel that the NYT has a broken Content Management System, that they use
Word to write and edit texts, that they send those word document back and forth. One
can feel it not only on their home page, one can feel it in the article.)
Your information architecture is your
brand architecture. To improve it:
1. Reduction creates essence.
2. Silence and pauses give structure.
3. Details clear things up.
4. Conscious repetition is fun.
5. Negativity motivates.
6. Slowness is powerful.
7. Focus on process (not on pretty pics).
THANK YOU.

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Information entropy

  • 1. INFORMATION ENTROPY By Oliver Reichenstein, iA Inc.
  • 18. 52 Trillion in 1$ Bills
  • 22. 99.99% in the trash.
  • 34. The Web has become like TV.
  • 37. It is too much mostly Advert iseme nt.
  • 38. WHY?
  • 39. “When you're young, you look at television and think, There's a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that's not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That's a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! … We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It's the truth.” —Steve Jobs
  • 40. The medium is a mirror. Because humans are messy, everything will get even messier.
  • 41. :(
  • 42. “Language allows information to accumulate more and more rapidly as time passes. Due to language I can receive signals from Confucius, Heraclitus, Plato, et cetera, et cetera. Now the acceleration of information has reached a point where I think it’s totally out of control and nobody can stop it.” — Robert Anton Wilson
  • 43. We are doing with our mind what we have successfully done to our environment. We are making a mess.
  • 47. 1. A measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system's disorder... Broadly: the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system 2a :  the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity 2b :  a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder 3:  chaos, disorganization, randomness
  • 48. 1. A measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system's disorder... Broadly: the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system 2a. The degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity 2b :  a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder 3:  chaos, disorganization, randomness
  • 49. 1. A measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system's disorder... Broadly: the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system 2a. The degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity 2b. A process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder 3:  chaos, disorganization, randomness
  • 50. 1. A measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system's disorder... Broadly: the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system 2a. The degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity 2b. A process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder 3. Chaos, disorganization, randomness
  • 54. “Iteration scales collaboration: Lots of people making small changes. Just as inaccuracy scales knowledge: Knowledge can't get huge unless it's allowed to be wrong sometimes... and just as messiness scales meaning.” —David Weinberger
  • 55. Messiness scales meaning? How so? Automatically? Because it’s… all… like… you know… awesome?
  • 56. WHAT DO WE KNOW FOR SURE?
  • 57. “From a scientific point of view, optimism and pessimism are objectionable: optimism assumes, or tempts to prove, that the universe exists to please us, and pessimism that it exists to displease us. Scientifically, there is no evidence that it is concerned with us either one or the other way.” —Bertrand Russell
  • 62. We are good at cleaning up, but making a mess and ignoring it, this is what we are really good at. And in both cases technology works as an amplifier.
  • 63. Is it pessimistic to assume that what analog technology has done to our environment, information technology is doing to our minds?
  • 65. “…commodification [of personal data] is not happening against the wishes of ordinary citizens but because this is what ordinary citizen-consumer want. Look no further than Google’s email and Amazon’s Kindle to see that no one is forced to use them: people do it willingly.” –Evgeny Morozov (yes, that [negative] guy)
  • 66. CAN WE DESIGN OR PROGRAM THIS AWAY?
  • 67. 1. Reduction creates essence. (We can do a better job at focussing on essence.)
  • 68. 2. Silence and pauses give structure. (Meaning needs Pauses. Thought needs room. We can improve our own diet.)
  • 69. 3. Details clear things up. (And they show that you care as a human being for another human being.)
  • 70. 4. Conscious repetition is fun. (Redundancy makes a message memorable, identifiable and solid. Kids love repetition. Repetition is fun. Repetition is funny. “New” is overrated.)
  • 71. 5. Negativity motivates. (Don’t be negative? Branding negativity as evil and unwise is utter ideological nonsense. Negativity is as evil as the color black, it is as unwise as the word “No”. There is nothing wrong with negativity. Negativity has its place in communication and so does positivity. Ultimately, negativity can be a much stronger motivator than positivity. If you censor negativity, how do you grow? To grow, you better embrace negativity. What you should do, is trying to avoid all optimism and pessimism. That’ll help you seeing reality for what it is and not for what you wish it to be.)
  • 72. 6. Slowness is powerful. (There is no need to increase overall user engagement, we engage enough. It’d be nice to start shaping technology so it slows us down a little.)
  • 74. OK, NOW ENOGH WITH THE NEGATIVITY AND THE REPETITION AND THE SLOWNESS. GIVE US SOMETHING… NEW!
  • 75. Design is a process. Writing is a process. Business is a process. (Improving the quality not a matter of good intentions. It’s how you do it. It’s a matter of process.)
  • 76. If the process sucks, the result sucks. (There is no killer method to solve all problems. Problem solving is a process. Always focus on the process, if you’r unhappy with the result.)
  • 77. Design Processes. Editorial Processes. Business Processes. (Improve your team’s performance? Maybe invest into improving the internal communication before you raise salaries, hire more staff and move into an even cooler office? Improve the financial industry? Well maybe you should look at how they communicate with each other, how they read and write, how they communicate internally before you you try to fix their results.)
  • 78. Look at internal information processes before you paint a nice picture of a corporation on the outside. (One can feel that the NYT has a broken Content Management System, that they use Word to write and edit texts, that they send those word document back and forth. One can feel it not only on their home page, one can feel it in the article.)
  • 79. Your information architecture is your brand architecture. To improve it:
  • 80. 1. Reduction creates essence. 2. Silence and pauses give structure. 3. Details clear things up. 4. Conscious repetition is fun. 5. Negativity motivates. 6. Slowness is powerful. 7. Focus on process (not on pretty pics).