V = E + N
V: Value of information obtained
E: Expected information
N: New information
Ok. Say you have just bought your new shining iPad. Now you downloaded ‘for free’ the e-magazine you always wanted to read and load it up the device. Until you have read the articles inside the magazine, the data inside the iPad have no value whatsoever. And the iPad is actually as good as a brick, albeit a very expensive and shining and beautiful piece of brick. But it is essentially functions as well as a brick. Without processing and more importantly storing and understanding of the information obtained from reading the articles inside the e-magazine, the iPad is a brick. So if you read just one article and the bugger off and do something else like baking a bun for example. Does the iPad still functions as a brick ? Or put it another way, say you have downloaded the e-magazine but then go off to a nearby library and then read a similar article in the same magazine, but this time a real magazine say in Popular or Times or MPH for example. Then does the iPad still function as a brick ? Well if you think that it is indeed a brick and use it to lay alongside other real bricks for your new garden wall, then you have just lost an iPad. In the first case your lost will be greater than on the second case. So data is only valuable only after processing by the human brain. It is worthless by itself, without any intelligible being taking it, devouring and then processing it. The data itself is a brick in this case. It just occupies bits and bytes of useless storage. The gist of my argument is this, electronic data makes brick cheaper than the real brick that builds a house. It is very cheap to waste data. But it is also cheap to obtain data.