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Perspective on Knowledge

Artificial intuition

Maybe the rise of machine learning will so transform our model of intuition that we'll start to trust it much more.

Restructured reading

In a book, not knowing how you got to a page would be a sign of a failed structure. On the internet, that can be a sign of a deeply rewarding intellectual expedition.

Why predict?

Predictions can be used to try to get to the bottom of something in the present. That's often the case with arguments about what the web will do to us and society.

The state of knowledge

The new norm is for us to learn in public and to share what we have learned.

The knowledge Zoom

In choosing to disclose something about one's personality and interests—even though it's kept literally in thebackground—people are acknowledging that personality and personhood matter to the discussion.

The end of books?

The structure of knowledge is dense, and our paths through it are carved not just by itscontours but by our interests and concerns.

The privilege of free speech

The best counter to a bad idea was not to suppress it but to put forth a better idea or so we believed. That belief and the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of free speech resulted from the Enlightenment commitment to reason.

Bureaucratic knowledge

The knowledge of bureaucrats comes from living at the nexus of strategy and implementation, the nexus of best practices and human values, the nexus of multiple departments with their independent goals, and at the nexus of wishes and reality. That makes their voices worth listening to.

Writing as empathy

Communication is about revealing something about the world that the other person hasn't noticed—and often hasn't been able to notice because their ideas get in the way.

A little eternal knowledge is a dangerous thing

Even if our business knowledge were as eternal and omnipresent as Newton's laws, we'd still have to apply that knowledge to a world that is unfathomably complex and ever-changing.

Data is never just data

As with all tools, data has uses because of complex contexts that include other objects, physics, social norms, social institutions, and human intentions.

Links then and now

Broken links used to be like potholes. Now there are entire neighborhoods that are gone.

Approximately causal

Science will not give up on hypotheses. But it already is becoming more willing to accept results based on the sorts of statistical analyses performed by machine learning. And it may be thatwhen science does rely on theories and laws, we will recognize that no matter how ironclad they are as generalizations, their application to a world of confetti will always and necessarily render them approximate and probabilistic.

250 Columns later

Knowledge management has indeed become a multi-threaded discipline, embracing just about everything related to knowledge.

The challenge of emergence

Traditionally, we humans have succeeded at building complex structures by breaking plans down into a multitude of simple, predictable, knowable causes and effects.

Journalism’s new landscape

What's happening to news is a microcosm of what's happening to knowledge overall.

Bring back blogging

The case for internal blogging within a corporate environment is strong and the risk is far lower because the participants are vetted and known.

Behind the scenes of Everyday Chaos

Machine learning builds up a model that connects data points in complex, multi-dimensional ways, usu­ally without yielding the sort of general principles we're accustomed to reason­ing from.

Rewriting the world

Tra­ditional computing upholds the traditional method of applying general rules to particulars. With machine learning, you skip the generalized abstraction and feed in the particulars.

Tools, senses, and machine learning

Machine learning sometimes extends our cognitive abilities in ways that are alien to our minds.