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This chapter is from the book

Information and Structure Are Inseparable

Excuse me for saying so, but there is no such thing as "unstructured information." Even the simplest kind of information has a sequence in which there is a beginning, a middle, and an end, some concept of unit, and, usually, several hierarchical levels of subunits. Information always has at least one intended mode of interpretation, and the interpretability of information is always utterly dependent on the interpreter's ability to detect structure.

Written and spoken natural languages have structures, although their structures are so subtle, variable, nuanced, and driven by human context that computers are still unable to understand natural languages reliably, despite many years of intense effort by many excellent minds. The fact that computers cannot reliably understand natural languages does not justify terming natural languages "unstructured." This strange term, unstructured information, was coined in order to distinguish information whose structure can be reliably detected and parsed by computers (structured information) from information, such as natural languages, that does not readily submit to computer processing given state-of-the-art technology (unstructured information).

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