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[ba-ohs-talk] Manhattan Project to establish the Knowledge Sciences

Eric,    (01)

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.    (02)

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...    (03)

http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/01/10/03/160603.HTM#EC5N    (04)

Try finding POIMS to see if it sheds any light....    (05)

http://www.welchco.com/03/00050/01/09/01/02/00030.HTM#00QR      (06)

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....    (07)

http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/00/05/17/160031.HTM#WA5L      (08)

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.    (09)

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
progress.    (010)

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.    (011)

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.    (012)

Good to see the group thinking foundationally again, per your letter
on 000212.    (013)

Rod    (014)

********************    (015)

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!    (016)