DIKW Pyramid Model | Difference Between Data Information & knowledge

DIKW Pyramid Model | Difference Between Data Information & knowledge

DIKW Pyramid Model | Difference Between Data Information & knowledge


What is the DIKW Pyramid model?

This is a very famous pyramid called DIKW pyramid. Yet, people find it hard to find the difference between Data Information & Knowledge, along with Wisdom.

DIKW pyramid model Difference Between Data Information

What is the difference between Data Information Knowledge & Wisdom?

So the first question is…

What is Data?

Data is basically a collection of raw facts and figures. The existence of data alone is insignificant. Data may or may not be usable.

It is like an apple tree. If you know that Apple is an eatable fruit and you know how to pluck apples from that tree, it is significant. Without this, an apple tree is insignificant in itself.

Everything you read, everything you see around is a part of data. The text in your memos, the pictures in your phone, your browser history, your shopping bills is data. The fact that the month is September and the fact that it is the rainy season, all of it is simply data. In fact, everything stored in a spreadsheet or tabular format is data.

Aniruddha has compiled a very insightful article : 3 Types of Programmer needs for Software Developer Jobs in Future. You can see, most of the future job requirement will be driven by the data.

What is Information?

When this data is processed to figure out the relevant data, we obtain information. Information is nothing but processed facts. Mostly this processing takes place by linking of data items to with an aim of finding relevance.

For example:

Suppose you have data of the sales of a particular product every month. We can link this data and obtain the information and tell whether the sale of the product has boosted up or slowed down. If we link the tables of months and seasons, we realize that it rains in the months of July-September.

This is exactly what we do. We extract data by using the select query on Relational Databases. Link the data from various tables using foreign keys, joins to obtain the information or relations and links between data.

What is Knowledge?

Okay, so now I have data and I have extracted information. I know that it’ll rain from July-September.

And suddenly, it doesn’t rain in July. In fact, there is scorching heat. So does that mean my data or information is all wrong?


It means that I haven’t noticed an important link, the link of ‘how’ and ‘why’.

How does it always rain in July?

It does because the weather is humid. This time, the weather was not humid, so it did not rain. This is knowledge.

Data is ‘0-9’ are digits and + is an operation called add. Information is 5+4=9, but how to add two numbers is a knowledge. The appropriate usage of stored information for analysis and learning is called knowledge.

This is what difference between Data Information & knowledge.

What is Wisdom?

Wisdom is something beyond the computer’s capabilities as of now. It exists in humans.

Wisdom refers to the understanding of principles with the knowledge and information combined.

Wisdom increases efficiency drastically but it requires judgment and ethics. It comes from the conscious and hence it is extremely powerful.

This is what keeps humans always more intelligent than computers. Humans are intelligent enough to make computers do the things that they cannot do themselves.
Rowley attributes the following definition of Wisdom to Ackoff:

As mentioned in the Wikipedia

Wisdom is the ability to increase effectiveness. Wisdom adds value, which requires the mental function that we call judgment. The ethical and aesthetic values that this implies are inherent to the actor and are unique and personal.

The understanding of this pyramid is extremely important. Getting this difference between Data Information knowledge and wisdom is very helpful for the understanding of any concepts related to Data Analytics, big data, IoT and so on.

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