The two kinds of information

When asked to name his favorite kind of music, pioneering jazz musician Louis Armstrong is said to have replied, ”There are only two kinds of music, good and bad.  I like good music.”

You could say the same about information—there are fundamentally only two kinds, good and bad.

According to one definition (“Intelligence:  An Economic Good” by Mark Jensen), good information is defined as being timely, objective, usable, accurate, and relevant to whatever decision it is supporting.   It’s not the same as “good news”—good information can be favorable or unfavorable—but solely by virtue of its being “good”, it’s essential to decision-making.

To the extent information doesn’t adhere to most or all of the above criteria, it is “bad” information.  The problem is, it’s often hard to tell the difference between the bad and the good.

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