[unrev-II] Knowledge trees

From: Jack Park (jackpark@verticalnet.com)
Date: Fri Jun 30 2000 - 10:43:40 PDT

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    The *Trees of Knowledge* thread spawns a whole nother line of inquiry, fired, of course, by googling *trees of knowledge*.

    A first hit was an interview at:
    which I consider a worth read. The whole idea of invention of a way to communicate that is different from *words* is, indeed, useful to ponder. Indeed, Hesse did so in Glass Bead Game, with his glyphs. Google the GBG and you will land on an enterprise reengineering firm that invented their own glyphs to play such a game with firms who are thinking about re-engineering. We now have a guest coming to the Palo Alto meetings who has spent a considerable time working out a glyphic representation of knowledge with an interesting twist to that which I cannot detect in the GBG: she organizes her glyphs into relational structures and imagines fields operating within the structures.

    And, then there is the UN and its many activities associated with bringing the third world into the larger sandbox. They speak of knowledge trees at one site:


    and, if you back up to the archive's home page
    you discover an entire dialog on the nature of knowledge sharing at a level far removed from that which the DKR imagines it, but at a primitive level worthy of consideration in the evolution of the DKR. Ferinstance, pass a note around. The note has your name and address on one side, and several things you'd like to know on the other. That note gets circulated. Eventually, what you want to know circulates back to you, boosting the understandings of all who mediate in the process. Their motto: trade goods locally, trade knowledge globally. From this, the suggestion that the DKR may evolve not only from discourse related to some particular manuscript, as I have mentioned elsewhere, but may also be stimulated -- a new focus of attention generated -- by a question from some user.

    And there is this page:
    a conference on a new space for culture and society, with this paper:
    A Paradigm Shift? Orchestrating Representations Like Knowledge Trees and Knowledge Spaces
    Interesting short take, that. Doesn't say much, but asks some interesting questions. Tracing the author lead me to this web site:
    His affiliation with Club of Budapest was dead, but this site has the following mission statement:
    "To leverage the value creation capability of individuals and organizations through the research, design, implementation and learning of knowledge systems. "
    The site has an outline of their process, and a resources page with papers, some of which are online.

    If we are going to grow knowledge trees in a DKR, it will be extremely useful to analyze the use cases associated with that growing process. There are some very interesting functional requirements hidden here, ones not yet anticipated in the requirements we now have. Ferinstance, *shall be extensible* does not contribute to handling debate, answering questions, growing a knowledge tree, or much else. That's not a criticism of the requirements as they now stand, just a reminder that we haven't yet really scratched the surface of requirements for playing in the knowledge sandbox.

    Incidentally, back up to www.tao.ca and you find a jump to http://matrix.tao.ca/ which is a project about "the distributed social struggle," from which you find a jump to http://www.openflows.net/ which calls itself "open source intelligence for an open society." From there, you jump to http://learning.openflows.net and an an appropriate quote from that page is this:
    "This site is brought to you by the students of learning.openflows.net
    All insights and ideas on this page depend upon your grounding in social reality to be understood.
    A human body is required to participate effectively... "

    By and large, these web sites appear to be grounded in the geopolitical/social struggles of our time, and, combined, the are clearly a kind of DKR. Some of the sites just happen to use the slashcode system. That, of course, is interesting to me. The slashdot-like sites seem to offer a kind of user interface that appeals to one of my visions of the DKR user experience. As regions of the knowledge base are being discussed, queried, debated, according to some thresholded level of activity, that activity is noted on the front page with appropriate links, perhaps into log of urls of posted responses (much like a forum or email list archive) such that the raw conversation is rendered available for browsing. Always, on the right side, there is some kind of inane poll ("so what do you think of the Elian Gonzales thing?"), perhaps invented at random by the engine itself, and, much like the polls on cnn.com, never having appropriate responses available for selection. Makes people think -- even get angry. Anger is good, so long as you control it. In fact, I would opt for a slashdot-like forum for Unrev over a wiki-wiki.

    Suggested reading: _The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding_ by Humberto R. Maturana & Francisco J. Varela, New Science Library, 1988.

    Enough for now.

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