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Revising the DIKW Pyramid and the Real Relationship Between Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom


This paper offers a critique and reformulation of the data-information-knowledge-wisdom (DIKW) pyramid. Today, collection of personal, business, industrial, and other types of data has never been more pervasive and invasive. Data storage now is measured in yottabytes (56 septillion bits of data) and beyond. This collected data is interrogated, monetized, hacked, and otherwise handled and mishandled around the world at an increasingly rapid pace due to improvements in technology. The interrogated data becomes information, but whether this information is useful or valuable depends entirely on the manner of interrogation and the accuracy of the underlying data. In turn, information could become knowledge but not necessarily, and not necessarily useful knowledge either. Knowledge and wisdom are also closely related, but wisdom typically contains a volume and longevity of collected knowledge and a purpose. Are humans more knowledgeable or wiser for today’s massive amounts of collected data? This paper examines the traditional DIKW pyramid and proposes a revised DIKW relationship based on a Venn diagram to better reflect the relationship between data, information, knowledge, and wisdom.

Published: 2020-11-21
Pages:69 to 80
Section: Symposium: What is Real about Law and Technology?
How to Cite
Van Meter, Heather J. 2020. “Revising the DIKW Pyramid and the Real Relationship Between Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom”. Law, Technology and Humans 2 (2):69-80.

Author Biography

Willamette University
United States United States

Heather J. Van Meter, Ph.D., Contributing Assistant Professor, Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Salem, Oregon, United States; and Senior Assistant Attorney General and trial attorney, Oregon Department of Justice, Portland, Oregon, United States

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2652-4074