Dave Weinberger – reboot7

The Natural Shape of Knowledge

He’s startng off looking at the history of (Western) knowledge, where knowledge was of the real world, when Aristotle was setting out the standard. Classigfication, to order knoweldge started at this point, when orgnaisation was thought about in physical terms.

“principles of organisation mirror the limitations of the physical” ie we organise things based on what we have experiences in the real world, and assume that everyone has the same experience and will sort out the knowledge in the same way.

But now we’re unconstrained by the physical, everything is digital. So the model changes. We can put leaves on multiple branches; messiness has a value (linkage); the order in unowned; – the owner of the information does not own the order of the information; users build the information and the metadata.

We’re pulling the leaves off the trees, making a pile and giving different ways of finding it. So “what is the new shape of knowledge”. It’s not what commercial sites think – it’s not keeping people on the site, but sending people elsewhere – linking is a key to knowledge So the NYT only points to itself or the ads – they are scared…but they are the ultimate echo chamber.

The topics are getting smaller and more niche, driven by people’s interests (wiki). Paper is expensive, digital is cheap – digital allows the expansion of what is interested (the long Tail). We get multiple subjectivities, that are in conversation with each other.

Knowledge is becoming the conversation, not the result of it. We are moving away from gatekeepers. We don’t want the best, we want the ‘it’ll do” – the good enough.

Multi-dispute-ism – facts being used as weapons – but in the digital space both can be right, multi parties can be right – or at least have their say.

Conversation can be global, with conversation across huge areas of commonality and differences.

The questions now are about the difference types of data..so the IRC channel is now looking for the super-sub-micro-meta datasphere. Meanwhile challenges to the gatekeepers of the info – are they going to give up their keys. Summary – not until they are prised out of their hands!

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