‘the ultimate knowledge environment’

So here I am, working in the ultimate knowledge environment, or at least something quite far beyond what exists in 2015.

The first thing to note is how deeply connected and richly interactive everything is. I can instantly look any text up in a myriad of sources, change the colour of the text based on grammar, meaning, contents – anything I choose. Numbers can be automatically converted to whatever system I prefer, whatever currency I need.

I’m reading a document where I come across an assertion which has a citation attached to it. A click and I can see all I need in order to decide whether the citation really does back up the assertion; who is behind it and what credibility the wider community has attached to the citation. I can access the original document where the citation was made, straight through to the paragraph it was made.

In this case I don’t agree with the way the author has used the citation and I make a note of this in the document, easily tagged to make the author aware of my position, with my own citation backing up my point – in a way the author can easily interact with – even though 3 million other people are also annotating this particular document.

I come across a dense, listy section and choose to view it as an exploded mind-map type view to better see how pieces relate. I can do this with any parts of the text and easily dial in whatever variables I choose to decide what view is most effective for me to understand and evaluate the document.

Sections of note come up and I easily stretch these into my own work, almost like pulling bits of text along a rubber band – they stay connected but flexible. All the contextual meta-information of the original text is kept, as is the further contextual information I add by taking it as a note.

While reading, something puzzles me so I decide to go through earlier versions of the document since I cannot understand how a particular conclusion was reached. I can thread through dialog about the text as easily as I can ski down the hill in sports video game. I see who was involved in the discussion and I send a message based on the text, and get a reply later, answering my question. This act has now also been woven into a layer of this document’s texture.

I change the structure of the document a bit, delete some sections highlighting others and it automatically gets wrapped in a new frame. This new version I share with my students, including a few in-section questions for them and I track their reading speed, perceived attention and see what sections they struggle with. I also reply to questions they have and some of their insights I feel I should share with the original author, whom I have never met. The original author likes the insights and attaches them to the next ‘official’ version, threading back to the original student comments.

I keep reading, choosing to see some of the text visualised through using tiny pictures of the relevant actors (people, companies, products etc.) in the text since I simply don’t have time to read it all in slow sequence right now.

Since all the words in the document have full data behind them, approved by the authors (extracted from Wikipedia or whatever other site is useful) I can search the document and change the view based on simple queries such as ‘who in the document were in NY in 1989’ without any of the people in the document explicitly having this written about them.

So then I start writing my own document, which I invite collaborators to edit at will, add to at will, and I also assign professional fact checkers and editors to work on their own layers of the document.

I can easily find information I have come across before, with human queries like ‘show me the articles I read last week about robotic cars in the evening’ and so on. Anything I put into my document retains a link to where it came from.

It’s not a simply document so I pin different sections to different parts of my monitor, pulling them together as needed, back out as required.

And so on and much more.

There is a lot to do; we need to develop real requirements, develop a technical infrastructure to support this and then develop, develop and redevelop.

The Central Knowledge Challenge

A note on working to make the world a better place and how technology can help us contribute to better understanding and communication.

Those who are interested in changing the world for the better first need to understand what that better world might be. This requires increasing their understanding of the world and having rich, deep dialog with other people – no one single person or perspective have the answers – we must effectively work together.

To progress as a species we need to work towards developing entirely new ways of projecting, representing and interacting with knowledge – the knowledge which is in our own heads, knowledge between two people, a group, or the planet’s total population – knowledge of the ‘who’ and the ‘why’ as much as of the ‘what’. Human knowledge, human intention, not simply cold information.

The challenge is huge. And more than that, it is bigger than we can imagine.

The challenge we face in how we deal with our knowledge is – make no mistake about it – is as big for us as it would have been for the first people of the Levant all those thousands of years ago (the people first who turned marks on a surface into sounds), to have to design the great age of print overnight. It’s easy to gloss over the complexity of the printed word today. Print required the development of uniform, high quality paper, workable inks with the right properties to stay wet on the plate but quickly dry on the paper. The type and illustrations needed to be hard enough for repeated use and very crips and clear. The industrial framework of copyright, distributions, pricing models and the innovations in typography to add such polishes as standardised spelling, punctuation and even spaces between letters adds further layers of innovation to produce the printed book you and I can carelessly pick up from any of a number of places in town.

We now need to consciously work to build such a huge leap in how we interact with our knowledge and each other – and how we can continually improve on such a project.

With the technical infrastructure available, the power of supercomputers connected via super-high speed networks with high resolution screens – both in the traditional screen and keyboard setup (which works so well for focused desk-knowledge work) and emerging interactive technologies such as mobile devices, augmented reality headsets and more, we have powerful building blocks at our disposals. The only limits are the those of our imaginations, curiosities + dedication.

The opportunities are immense.

Dino’s Document

Today Sam Hahn​, Alexander Laszlo​ and David Price​ and I discussed the formatting of Dino Karabeg​’s upcoming paper. I could not be happier – I actually bit my fingers during that Skype call. Should it be long and coherent? Should it be in smaller pieces which are easier to link to? How can we collaborate on commenting on his work? How can it best be presented to the readers and how can he best get it out of his head? Oh, heaven. One aspect is tagging. So I’m writing on that now. Anyway, must go make another coffee..

‘the ultimate knowledge environment’

So here I am, working in the ultimate knowledge environment, or at least something quite far beyond what exists in 2015.

The first thing to note is how deeply connected and richly interactive everything is. I can instantly look any text up in a myriad of sources, change the colour of the text based on grammar, meaning, contents – anything I choose. Numbers can be automatically converted to whatever system I prefer, whatever currency I need.

I’m reading a document where I come across an assertion which has a citation attached to it. A click and I can see all I need in order to decide whether the citation really does back up the assertion; who is behind it and what credibility the wider community has attached to the citation. I can access the original document where the citation was made, straight through to the paragraph it was made.

In this case I don’t agree with the way the author has used the citation and I make a note of this in the document, easily tagged to make the author aware of my position, with my own citation backing up my point – in a way the author can easily interact with – even though 3 million other people are also annotating this particular document.

I come across a dense, listy section and choose to view it as an exploded mind-map type view to better see how pieces relate. I can do this with any parts of the text and easily dial in whatever variables I choose to decide what view is most effective for me to understand and evaluate the document.

Sections of note come up and I easily stretch these into my own work, almost like pulling bits of text along a rubber band – they stay connected but flexible. All the contextual meta-information of the original text is kept, as is the further contextual information I add by taking it as a note.

While reading, something puzzles me so I decide to go through earlier versions of the document since I cannot understand how a particular conclusion was reached. I can thread through dialog about the text as easily as I can ski down the hill in sports video game. I see who was involved in the discussion and I send a message based on the text, and get a reply later, answering my question. This act has now also been woven into a layer of this document’s texture.

I change the structure of the document a bit, delete some sections highlighting others and it automatically gets wrapped in a new frame. This new version I share with my students, including a few in-section questions for them and I track their reading speed, perceived attention and see what sections they struggle with. I also reply to questions they have and some of their insights I feel I should share with the original author, whom I have never met. The original author likes the insights and attaches them to the next ‘official’ version, threading back to the original student comments.

I keep reading, choosing to see some of the text visualised through using tiny pictures of the relevant actors (people, companies, products etc.) in the text since I simply don’t have time to read it all in slow sequence right now.

Since all the words in the document have full data behind them, approved by the authors (extracted from Wikipedia or whatever other site is useful) I can search the document and change the view based on simple queries such as ‘who in the document were in NY in 1989’ without any of the people in the document explicitly having this written about them.

So then I start writing my own document, which I invite collaborators to edit at will, add to at will, and I also assign professional fact checkers and editors to work on their own layers of the document.

I can easily find information I have come across before, with human queries like ‘show me the articles I read last week about robotic cars in the evening’ and so on. Anything I put into my document retains a link to where it came from.

It’s not a simply document so I pin different sections to different parts of my monitor, pulling them together as needed, back out as required.

And so on and much more.

There is a lot to do; we need to develop real requirements, develop a technical infrastructure to support this and then develop, develop and redevelop.

The Central Knowledge Challenge

A note on working to make the world a better place and how technology can help us contribute to better understanding and communication.

Those who are interested in changing the world for the better first need to understand what that better world might be. This requires increasing their understanding of the world and having rich, deep dialog with other people – no one single person or perspective have the answers – we must effectively work together.

To progress as a species we need to work towards developing entirely new ways of projecting, representing and interacting with knowledge – the knowledge which is in our own heads, knowledge between two people, a group, or the planet’s total population – knowledge of the ‘who’ and the ‘why’ as much as of the ‘what’. Human knowledge, human intention, not simply cold information.

The challenge is huge. And more than that, it is bigger than we can imagine.

The challenge we face in how we deal with our knowledge is – make no mistake about it – is as big for us as it would have been for the first people of the Levant all those thousands of years ago (the people first who turned marks on a surface into sounds), to have to design the great age of print overnight. It’s easy to gloss over the complexity of the printed word today. Print required the development of uniform, high quality paper, workable inks with the right properties to stay wet on the plate but quickly dry on the paper. The type and illustrations needed to be hard enough for repeated use and very crips and clear. The industrial framework of copyright, distributions, pricing models and the innovations in typography to add such polishes as standardised spelling, punctuation and even spaces between letters adds further layers of innovation to produce the printed book you and I can carelessly pick up from any of a number of places in town.

We now need to consciously work to build such a huge leap in how we interact with our knowledge and each other – and how we can continually improve on such a project.

With the technical infrastructure available, the power of supercomputers connected via super-high speed networks with high resolution screens – both in the traditional screen and keyboard setup (which works so well for focused desk-knowledge work) and emerging interactive technologies such as mobile devices, augmented reality headsets and more, we have powerful building blocks at our disposals. The only limits are the those of our imaginations, curiosities + dedication.

The opportunities are immense.

Dino’s Document

Today Sam Hahn​, Alexander Laszlo​ and David Price​ and I discussed the formatting of Dino Karabeg​’s upcoming paper. I could not be happier – I actually bit my fingers during that Skype call. Should it be long and coherent? Should it be in smaller pieces which are easier to link to? How can we collaborate on commenting on his work? How can it best be presented to the readers and how can he best get it out of his head? Oh, heaven. One aspect is tagging. So I’m writing on that now. Anyway, must go make another coffee..

Liquid Information
thoughts

frode hegland

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011