“Information is power”, said Barack Obama in 2008. He may have been born under a curious star, but his belief that information is the key to greatness is not one that we are likely to see changing any time soon. Like so many others he is probably right about that.
Information is structured, processed and organised information. It gives context to other information and enables intelligent decision making. For instance, a single consumer’s sale in a restaurant is information- this becomes information if the company is able to identify which the most successful or least successful dish is. This information is transformed by the user into relevant causal inputs such as facial expressions, tone of voice, and appropriate body language. Those inputs can be used by the user to make a judgment or form an opinion, and that is where the criminal charge against BP will help put things back into perspective.
Of course, when making a criminal charge, the prosecutor has an advantage. They know which pieces of information are relevant to proving their case, and they will exploit those pieces of information to convict their defendant. The information theory is used to help police officers build up a strong case against their suspect, but it is not a foolproof foundation on which to stand. To take another example, it is quite conceivable that Eric Holder’s Justice Department could use secret evidence against George W. Bush to prosecute him over the Iraq War, but that is not a fact proven by the public.
On the other hand, it is entirely possible to use the information theory in the court of public opinion, with regard to a political trial. The process is not quite so neat and tidy, however. In fact, information can become contaminated very quickly. It is quite easy for a politically motivated prosecutor to feed information to the media, and then retract their statements at a later point in time. It is very hard to prove guilt, especially if the evidence that is offered is mostly hearsay.
One way to illustrate this is to consider the situation that occurred after the towers collapsed. Although many people may have been injured, it is believed that no one was actually guilty of the incident. After all, there were plenty of witnesses who saw the collapse happen, yet they did not actually see anyone do anything wrong. Many people have said that the lack of information can be compared to the conscious mind theory. The conscious mind has many functions, one of which is the ability to construct logical arguments to convince someone that they are wrong about something.
Unfortunately, the conscious mind is not in control of events that happen around us. If the information that you need to stand up in court is not available, your subconscious mind will attempt to fill in the blanks. Whether the information is true or false will not matter, as long as you believe that it is true. As long as you are not involved in any criminal activity and you are completely innocent, the police will eventually clear you.