Information is Physical — The Information (a brief review of James Gleick’s treatise)


Information is Physical “To do anything requires energy.  To specify what is done requires information.” -Seth Lloyd (2006) c/o James Gleick

The Information: a History, a Theory, a Flood” released by First Vintage Books in march 2012, and written by James Gleick © 2011, will leave you exhilarated with the implications of information as a thing, and exhausted at understanding the implications of information as another dimension, much like length, width, and height. This highly acclaimed and best selling author has probably forgotten more about this topic than this author is capable of restating, but his work is definitely worth a read.

For me, I was quite awakened to the understanding that the term itself is dynamic—notice “in – formation.” No wonder that the requirements and technology to support it, are never static and constantly changing. His discussion about the history and evolution towards the current state of quantum computing is remarkably clear yet simply challenging. Who can honestly explain teleportation cleanly and clearly to someone else. Yet most of us know and would agree with the Einsteinian equation “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

The Information (a book by James Gleick)

For me, particularly enjoyable was the chapter on Wikipedia, since it represent the true sense of digital collaboration. It also represents consensus, except for the disambiguations, or areas void of clear consensus.

From early Charles Babbage and “no thought can perish” to the edit wars of Wikipedia, if you are regularly engaged in the sphere of information technology, you will find Glieck’s book worthwhile at least, and at most, highly illuminating. After all, which is more accurate—is a human with a cat its “owner,” its “caregiver,” its “human companion,” or other? Or, to borrow liberally from Glieck’s painstaking research “factions fission into . . . the Association of Wikipedians Who Dislike Making Broad Judgments About the Worthiness of a General Category of Article, and Who are in Favor of the Deletion of Some Particularly Bad Articles, but That Doesn’t Mean They Are Deletionists.” (for real).

His Prologue of references and Bibliography alone are worthy of any library, including yours, if part of your life’s passion deals with information technology.

Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

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About Terrence Metz
Biographic Sketch — Terrence Metz Since the end of 1999, Terrence Metz has been a founding principal partner and vice president at Morgan Madison & Company. For over twenty years, through professional and academic endeavors, Terrence has focused on improving group decision-making. His experience has proven that two important components to effective group decision-making are: 1. Higher quality information assures higher quality decisions, 2. Properly managed conflict, generates more “options” to consider—
and groups with more options are proven to make higher quality decisions. Terrence is passionate about using and teaching the FAST Facilitative Leadership Training technique so that people and teams make more informed decisions. Terrence is the lead instructor and primary curriculum developer for MG Rush Performance Learning. He earned his Six Sigma Green Belt® from Motorola University and wrote most of the existing FAST curriculum. Terrence made the FAST technique more robust by adding and enhancing decision-making tools such as PowerBalls and the FAST quantitative SWOT technique that is used worldwide by Fortune 1000 companies. He introduced the concept of holism to the field of structured facilitation as a method for keeping discussions on target and aligning deliverables throughout an organization. Since 1999, Terrence has taught over two hundred classes. With a Baccalaureate in Science from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and a MBA from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on product/ process development and innovation. Terrence has a P&L background in capital goods markets with highly engineered-products and services (eg, Honeywell). He is an expert group facilitator, instructor, and developer of workflow processes and Voice of the Market inputs that accelerate commercial success. His engagements have included strategic development, business planning, problem-solving, continuous improvement, organizational design, process design and improvement, customer cognitivity workshops, and market-based product development and launch. His book "Change or Die: The Business Process Improvement Manual" from CRC Press was published internationally in 2012. Terrence completed additional graduate work in inter-cultural decision-making processes at Marquette University, is a former board member of the Product Development Managers’ Association, and a long-time member of the IAF (International Association of Facilitators), MFNA (Midwest Facilitators Network Association), TMAC (Technology Management Association of Chicago) and WFS (World Future Society). Most importantly, Terrence is an effective listener and equally adept at teaching FAST classes as well as galvanizing consensus around complex issues for organizations and groups.

6 Responses to Information is Physical — The Information (a brief review of James Gleick’s treatise)

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