In the field of knowledge management, of course, the idea of turning data into information into knowledge has been a foundation concept for knowledge managers. But frankly, the ability to achieve this alchemy of data to knowledge has not been broadly demonstrated in practice. A next generation information refinery is required to make something meaningful and valuable out of the raw data flying around the firm and throughout the internet economy.
We're familiar with the near-term portion of the time spectrum—from femtosecond lasers used in eye surgery to high-frequency trading in milliseconds on the major securities exchanges. Unfortunately, the extreme opposite end of the time spectrum, the "deep future" receives little if any attention. Decisions in fields such as genetic engineering, nuclear energy, geopolitics and the like can have serious implications for human civilization. But the impact of those decisions might not become apparent for many thousands of years and hundreds of generations.