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[ahole] [2b2k] Me having tea with The Economist

I have to say that Tea with the Economist was a fun experience. The Economist has been videoing tea-time discussions with various folks. In line with that magazine’s tradition of anonymous authoring, the interviewer is unnamed, but I can assure you that he is as astute as he is delightful.

We talk about what people will do with the big loads of data that some governments are releasing, and the general problem of the world being too big to know.

3 Responses to “[ahole] [2b2k] Me having tea with The Economist”

  1. I watched to the “Tea” with great joy – as always – a lot of deep insight into the issues related to growing amount of data available.

    But I’m not quite sure if I agree with your DIKW references. First of all, I never thought that the pyramid used to illustrate it, illustrates narrowing of the scope !

    If it is some narrowing more than the diagram itself – it is narrowing of the amount of units of (data,information,knowledge) but not their respective scopes.

    The second is, that in many traditional DIKW depictions and explanations it was clear that we add something at each level, so there is no silly automation.

    We add description to data to create information, we add instructions and explanation to information to create knowledge and so on. OK, I agree with last rung, i.e. with “wisdom” is not that clear and simple – but still, to me DIKW was not meant to automatically create upper rung from teh lower one – at least I never got it this way …


  2. Mirek, thanks for the thoughtful comment, as always.

    My interpretation of the DIKW pyramid is undoubtedly influenced by my experiences during the formative days of Knowledge Management, when the basic pitch was: Your corporation is awash with information. You need to identify the high-value stuff and make it more available. KM was routinely presented as a reduction of available info.

    Your point that K doesn’t automatically flow from info is certainly right, as a matter of fact. In terms of how KM was presented, it’s murkier, since the hope was that there could be some degree of automation — or at least of routinization — of the processes by which those high-value pieces of info could be derived and identified.

    But, even if the process is entirely non-automatic, I do believe that the general picture the pyramid has given us is that knowledge helps make manageable the tsunami of info. K doesn’t merely filter info, and it doesn’t do so automatically, but the result is some smaller set of ideas and info than what we started with.

    Your final paragraph points to a different problem with the geometry of the representation: The pyramid points up in value, but the process by which we move from one level to another is far more back-and-forth than that geometry suggests. (To be clear: I’m agreeing with you.)

  3. I agree, that KM hype, in some sense, spoiled the understanding of DIKW pyramid.

    I still remember doing a project for some large Japanese corporation about KIF (Knowledge Interchange Format) – which in fact, was rather semantic information exchange format. Project was small and not very interesting, but the aura was clear – when we have good interchange format for information, knowledge will create itself automatically and we will have automated reduction of information.
    Which of course is abuse of DIKW gist.

    Unfortunately, today I see the similar naive faith in Semantic Web to create (automatically) knowledge out of information. At least – in some of attempted SW applications. While I strongly favor SW techniques, I do not think it will automatically rise us up the ladder.

    Thx, for good discusssion, always some grain of truth in seemingly contradicting views :-)

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