Re: [ba-ohs-talk] Manhattan Project to establish the Knowledge Sciences
Interesting point, Rod. You are saying, in effect, that we are in 1902
with respect to having a good knowledge theory, and that if an
Einstein came up with it today, we'd be ready to implement it about
I sure hope we can improve on that! (02)
Rod Welch wrote: (03)
> As usual, good analysis in your letter today, shown below on defining
> "knowledge," as a predicate to progress on KM, and identifying key
> details of a Manhattan Project to formulate Knowledge Sciences.
> Your definition of knowledge as "categorized how-to information" is
> ambling toward a useful direction. Refinement that further
> distinguishes knowledge from information will sharpen the focus on
> what needs to be done differently to solve problems on 010911, and
> arrest the decline of productivity and earnings that worries
> investors, as your explained in your letter on 011003...
> Try finding POIMS to see if it sheds any light....
> On 010916 you said it's hard to find anything using popular methods
> everybody likes, but take another look. When we met at Intel on
> 000517 you had printed POIMS and later thought it was in the back seat
> of the car....
> If so, there may be some clues about moving from information to a
> culture of knowledge noted in your subsequent letter on 010916. Jack
> reported on 011003 that he has found no clues, but I am not sure he
> had found POIMS, either, at least I don't recall seeing analysis of
> the caliber you did today, per below, directed at understanding POIMS.
> It is probably out of the question because nobody has the time these
> days, like they did in Einstein's time, but a useful exercise, after
> understanding information and knowledge, would be to look for
> correlations and alignment between POIMS and Doug's OHS Launch Plan
> which he submitted on 001025, and then to incorporate that analysis
> into your CDR specs. As I recall, you made a significant start on
> 000505, but then there was a hang-up sometime around 001105 (don't
> hold me to these dates, they can be tricky). Lee Iverson later did
> more under the banner of NODAL. Putting this ferment together builds
> a community of expertise and eventually of practice needed for
> Once you develop a set of ideas for creating technology that improves
> IT, then a Manhattan Project to implement those ideas will have a
> chance to succeed. Without understanding what needs to be done, you
> can easily exceed an unlimited budget and have nothing to show for it,
> as occurred with IBM, per Paul's letter on 001130. Recall that in
> about 1903 Einstein worked out the basic concept on converting matter
> into energy. Others later developed engineering methodologies (as you
> and Lee, Jack, Eugene and others have struggled with for KM), so by
> the time Manhattan came along in about 1942, the 50 years that Buck
> Minister Fuller suggests is the time required for a new way of doing
> things to mature, had transpired. In 1942 they had a lot of clues
> about what to do, and so a critical mass of people, resources and
> leadership was successful working out implementation engineering, as
> you relate cogently in your letter today.
> At this time, today, however, it is not clear that there is enough
> knowledge about what to do to move from IT to a culture of knowledge,
> not even a clue outside of POIMS, because limited time, and, in some
> respects, cultural blinders, have prevented people from doing the
> careful spade work that is tedious and essential in the beginning to
> breath life into a new direction for science. To justify a
> Manhattan-type effort, clues must be found and people must be found
> who are willing to invest time for following the clues to discover how
> knowledge is distinguished from information in a way that technology
> can exploit.
> Good to see the group thinking foundationally again, per your letter
> on 000212.
> Eric Armstrong wrote:
> > Rod, thanks again for your inspired summary of the record.
> > Thoughts on two of the items below.
> > Rod Welch wrote:
> > > ....
> > > On 000407 Doug's SRI group was reminded about the need to define
> > > knowledge, as previously suggested on 000120....
> > > ....
> > > Since that time there has been a lot of discussion about ontology,
> > > Wiki, SOAP, dialog maps, IBIS, C++, Java, collaboration, semiotics,
> > > topic maps, et al, for two (2) years or more.
> > Personally, I'm inclined to think of knowledge as "categorized
> > how-to information". At least, that's a working definition that lets
> > me think in terms of answers to the question "What X do we need
> > help people do useful work?"
> > I think "categorized how-to information" fits the definition of X, and
> > I don't mind using "knowledge" for the terminology -- at least until
> > someone gives me a better definition of knowledge and I have to
> > call X something else.
> > That way, when I want to search for information on making my
> > Sony stereo component work, I can search for Sony by name,
> > but search for categories of like "troubleshooting", "installation",
> > "wiring diagrams", or things of that nature.
> > Right now, I'm fascinated by the idea of using network analysis to
> > identify categories and sub-categories. Once presented with a
> > cluster of related sites, any ontologist worth their salt could hang a
> > label on it. A group of ontologists doing that would rapidly build up
> > a useful ontology.
> > Note:
> > Some categories, like "Sony components" are obvious. The
> > site's links do the clustering. But it is intriguing to think that
> > there might be some "how to fix it" pages out there that link
> > to a collection of pages on Sony's site, and some on other
> > sites, that would create a "troubleshooting" category.
> > Now, using the kind of technique Doug has been favoring, where you
> > add metadata to existing pages without modifying the pages themselves,
> > categories could be added wholesale. Once an ontologist creates a
> > name for a cluster of closely-related items in the network, all of those
> > items would be immediately and automatically tagged.
> > Further, since variations in the network occur incrementally, the
> > metadata tagging could be automatically updated each night so
> > that new pages get the appropriate tags by virtue of their links.
> > Of course....
> > Some hair ball is going to come up with idea of making links just
> > to get themselves categorized, but since no one will be linking to
> > *them*, they lie far down the category-chain.
> > > People resort to calling things "Manhattan" in hopes of ....
> > I had pretty much the same emotional reaction, although I would
> > characterize
> > things a little differently.
> > In my mind, the idea of a "Manhattan" effort is that:
> > 1) You get the best and the brightest minds.
> > 2) You put them in an environment that is free from distractions
> > (like the pesky annoyance of making a living)
> > 3) You give them a difficult, challenging, and important problem
> > to solve.
> > 4) You put them in close quarters, so ideas can rub elbows,
> > jostle each other, and spur a cycle of innovations.
> > Such mechanisms can and do work. However, failing to meet all
> > of the requirements leads to nice cooperative efforts that fail to
> > meet the "Manhattan" ideal.
> > In particular, #2 and #4 are key. We *want* distributed systems
> > that will allow #4, but do not yet have them, so physical proximity
> > is a requirement for a "Manhattan" effort, at this point in time.
> > More important, though, is #2. Combined with #4, these requirements
> > are another way of saying "isolatation". Isolation serves a number
> > of important purposes:
> > * freedom from distraction (of all kinds)
> > * accelerated discourse, by eliminating the need to bring
> > the (relatively) uniformed "up to speed" on radical new concepts
> > * freedom from negative influences that say it can't be done,
> > and from the need to spend your time justifying the opposite
> > opinion
> > It would be a great idea, imho. But calling an effort a
> > "Manhattan Project" doesn't make one -- even if it is a noble,
> > valuable, and desirable project! (04)