The numbers virus or the hormone of knowledge?

The numbers virus or the hormone of knowledge?


Marina Anshina

Any metaphor suffers from inaccuracy. No matter how you try to fully describe a particular entity through comparisons with other objects, it is still trying to get beyond the proposed framework, such as
dough with boiling water.

In the metaphor of the “virus of the numbers”, which is often described by the current state of the world and society, I like its inevitability and infectiousness, but outraged by the pain and the negative.

What I like about the virus is the numbers

Indeed, according to Wikipedia, viruses affect all types of organisms, from plants and animals to bacteria and unicellular cells. In this sense, the Internet of Things perfectly characterizes the digital
a virus that has infected or will certainly still infect all objects of the material world.

A serious antidote for the digital virus has not yet been invented. And the times when parents restricted children from communicating with computers have gone backwards. Because the millennial generation
is able to bypass the prohibitions imposed on them easily. And nowadays, computers are in every mobile phone, and free Internet access is almost everywhere.

The number virus is transmitted in almost every interaction. Because if one participant wants to use email or social networking as their primary means of communication, then the other
will have to adjust. And so it will quickly become infected with the digital virus.

All older generations are forced to go online, at least to communicate with children and grandchildren. And as soon as the computer and Internet access is mastered, it turns away “sick” from it
hard. After all, the virus of numbers allows you not only to communicate with friends and family, but also to make new friends. Just as importantly, virus-infected figures gain access to such volumes
information that did not dream “healthy”.

These qualitatively new opportunities urgently require a fundamentally different attitude to information than before in the pre-Internet era. Comparison with the usual measures used in viral
infections such as drinking warm, lying in bed and being ascorbic are unlikely to be appropriate. Changes in approaches to the use of information should be dramatic.

quality of information

It will be necessary to become accustomed to the indispensable accounting of the quality of the information used. And if earlier the information was shared on the principle of “white – black”, ie good or bad, now the quality
information becomes a more complex combined indicator. It will have to take into account its relevance, accuracy, clarity, suitability for analysis and many other characteristics. In each
in the particular case, from the vast array of available information, one will have to choose the one whose quality will improve the results obtained when it is applied.

I always allow students to use any exams in exams because in real life, they will also be able to access it. Some of them are not so responsible for this reason
to prepare as you would like. And so the results they find online can well be the basis for a humorous magazine. Unfortunately, even the millennials mentioned are NOT
know how to use information, choose from a variety of records issued by the search engine, what is suitable to answer the question. And worst of all, they trust any page on the Internet more,
than themselves. The transition from unconditional trust through complete distrust, which is already emerging, to the competent selection and use of information – a difficult task and very responsible. AND
since such a stage has not yet been overcome by mankind, it is not clear how to proceed. And when you don’t know what to do, but you have to do it, then it’s worth trying different methods,
constantly evaluate their performance and choose the best ones.

The breadth of possibilities requires selection techniques. Unfortunately, we are learning very slowly to live with the virus of numbers. And here it is necessary to advise not to lie in bed, and to learn to think.

Speed ​​of information processing

Everyone is talking about the huge amount of information that came down on us with the virus numbers. At one of the conferences she heard a very correct argument that if earlier there was an article or
the presentation could be put down in a long drawer, namely in a separate folder for further reading, now it is useless. That is, information must be learned to be processed promptly, extracting from it
knowledge is almost on the fly. In this case, “reading diagonally” leads to the fact that some of the information is not absorbed and simply does not make sense. And not “we will spit out the baby”, “in a hurry to buy it”?

The other day, one of the graduates of Harvard Business School told how students were required to read and learn 800-900 pages a day. And when he tried to protest, the school management responded,
that you can’t handle information like that, don’t go to managers. But it is clear that to fully absorb such a volume of man can not. Therefore, we should try not to speed up information processing
to lose, in fact, the information itself.

The need to improve the speed of information processing puts new demands on its presentation: competent formatting, clear structuring, annotation system, quality search
systems. In addition, artificial intelligence comes to the rescue.

Information as a basis for decision making

I really love Spencer’s data law and I often quote it. He says:

«1. Everyone can make a decision with enough information.

2. A good manager is able to make decisions with insufficient information at his or her disposal.

3. The ideal leader is able to make decisions without knowing anything. ”

I would change the word “manager” to “man” here. Because decisions, including important ones for the company, are not only made by the executives. However, most obviously consider themselves
perfect executives, make decisions without knowing almost anything. Obviously, assuming without much reason that intuition will work. Yes, we can quote Einstein: “Intuition is
a sacred gift and a rational mind a faithful servant. ” But in order for the intuition to work, it is necessary to understand the situation at least in a small way. And this is impossible without adequate information. moreover,
I repeat that information is not needed, but one that does not impair the quality of the decision.

This approach requires a serious revision of not only the processes and their regulations in the organization, but also the way of thinking, culture in society, which is much more complicated. competent use
information should be learned from kindergarten. But we are still shaping the rules of such a competent approach.

Why the virus?

You may not know what the Latin for virus means “poison”. A viral disease can lead to death. Yes, many say that promoting numbers can lead to personality degeneration, or
worse, the victory of the cars in the scenario described in the Terminator. Once scared of steam boilers, now it is a virus of numbers. Any new opportunities inevitably create new risks.

However, it would not be desirable to associate the advancement of information technology with risks alone. And this, unfortunately, is visible in the term “virus numbers”. To imagine that everything is digital is a disease, it is only that
growth disease, not caused by a virus, but associated with the extremely rapid development of the IT industry.

Yes, the level of understanding and ability to use IT in society is too far from real possibilities. And the chasm is growing. It cannot be said that the state or individual companies do not
understand and do not take appropriate action. But here it is appropriate to compare with a drop in the sea. These measures are indecisive and fragmentary. And until they produce serious results.

It would be a good idea to organize a comprehensive recovery of society that would turn the virus of the digit into a hormone of the digit. It is possible to take vitamins of standards and rules, considering what they will be
really useful and perceived by the body. To do this, prevention should be provided for toddlers and adults in the form of all means of promotion and training in the correct use of information in
different situations with security in mind. To do this, you need to get rid of the term “virus” and stop thinking of IT as something harmful and temporary.

Why the number?

And why are we talking about the digital virus, the digital transformation and the digital economy? For most people, the term “number” is associated with the numbers of the decimal number system. And for no one
it’s no secret that computers think in binary, ie in zeros and ones.

But as Captain Vrungel sang, “As you call the boat, so it will sail.” And there are heads of digital transformation programs who seriously believe that if you give each manager a
correlation matrix, it will make only the right decisions. Or that the main characteristic of the digital transformation level is the depth of presentation.

Data is a set of numbers, which in turn consists of numbers. What and to whom can the numbers be given? How will they help you make decisions? At least they need to be processed to get out
information. And it would be good to extract knowledge from information, because, as we have discussed above, so much information falls on the modern man, which he himself
it is simply not possible to process.

Thus, the figure is the first stage in the acquisition of knowledge. And in this sense, the common terminology based on numbers shows that we are at the very beginning of the journey.

And I very much hope that as we go this route, we will soon be discussing not the virus of numbers, but the hormone of knowledge.

digital transformation, digital development, digitalization

Business in number

IT-Manager Magazine [№ 01/2020],


Marina Anshina

Marina Anshina

President of FOSTAS Foundation, Chairman of the Board of the Russian Union of IT Directors

Leave a Comment