Sunday, August 21, 2011

Information Hiding

What is information hiding?
In programming, the process of hiding details of an object or function. Information hiding is a powerful programming technique because it reduces complexity. One of the chief mechanisms for hiding information is encapsulation -- combining elements to create a larger entity. The programmer can then focus on the new object without worrying about the hidden details.

But I don't intend to talk about it from the programming point of view. I'm going to get into the human psyche, the human urge to hide information.

Consider:

Case1:  Two house-wives talking about their lives
Lady 1 : So how is everything at your end? Your daughter got admission to junior college?
Lady 2 : Yes, everything is fine. Yes she got admission.
Lady 1 : (Couldn't she have said which college?!?) Which college?
Lady 2 : College X
Lady 1 : Nice. But that is really far from your place right. How does she travel?
Lady 2 : Yes it is far. I don't know, she manages.
Lady 1 : (How can you not know how your daughter travels to college?!?) Hmm..when I was studying my timings were 9-5. Are they the same now?
Lady 2 : I don't know.
Lady 1 : (Ok..is she a mother or no?)

My thoughts on this conversation. What does lady 1 get by hiding how her daughter travels to college? or the timings of the college? Is it some kind of proprietary information that no one should know?

Case 2: Two guys chatting
Guy 1 : Do you know, I went to this amazing place to have dish X
Guy 2 : Wow. where is it?
Guy 1 : Its at Road Y.
Guy 2 : Where is road Y?
Guy 1 : Come on, you don't know road Y. How is it possible?
Guy 2 : (Is road Y some kind of basic information that I need to live?!?) I don't. Tell me how do I get there.
Guy 1 : I don't know.
Guy 2 : (Seriously! how can you not know how to get to a place you just said you went to?!?)

My thoughts on this conversation. The way to get to road Y is supposedly some secret information. If yes, whty did Guy 1 in the first place talk about it. If some information is a secret (according to you) and you don't want to share anything about it, then don't. Don't brag about your excess knowledge of some God forsaken road which is really not going to help me or you live a better life!

Case 3 : Two firnds chatting up
Friend 1 : You know I bought this amazing thingX. And I bought it so cheap too you know!
Firend 2 : Really? How much did you buy it for?
Friend 1 : I don't know.
Friend 2 : (Ok, you just told me you bought it cheap!) Ok, tell me from where did you buy it?
Friend 1 : I don't remember the name of the store. Its somewhere in Area X.
Friend 2 : (Really!!) Ok, but Area X is too huge, tell me some thing around there, some landmark I can look for?
Friend 1 : Hmm..but I really don't remember.
Friend 2 : (Did you seriously buy something or were you just lying?!?)

My thoughts on this conversation. The same as above. If you don't want to share information, don't start the conversation. Keep your secret findings to yourself.

Now, about the human psyche. Maybe it is sadist pleasure that they get from hiding information. Maybe the thought process is I found this stuff out after so many trials and after so many efforts. How can I tell someone about it for free. Maybe it is one way of pleasing yourself by saying to yourself I know something that someone else doesn't. Maybe it is your inferiority complex and insecurity that makes you feel If I give up this information, I will not have an upperhand anymore .
But seriously, telling someone about the college timings, or the way to some road, or the address of some nice store that you liked, is it really worth keeping to yourself?

Maybe this is normal human behavior. But as I see it, if I find some nice place, some cheap accomodation, some cheap but worthwhile stuff to buy, I would go out of my way to make this information available to people I know. What's the use of witholding information that is not going to add to your well being anyway?

Think about it.

3 comments:

Pravaahit... said...

very aptly put up.. donno why people do that!

dan_103 said...

Wow, this is great! I feel the exact same way when I talk to people. It seems like everyone has this inferiority complex about with you blog, haha. When you find an effective way to weasel a response other than, "I don't know/remember." out of someone, please blog it!

Zaru said...

@Pravaahit : Ditto!
@dan_103 : haha..so rightly said! yes..sure..if ever :D