About Knowledge


Lot has been written about the DIKW hierarchy, and recently, David Weinberger wrote an interesting one about the problem with the DIKW hierarchy. While i dont really understand the difference between knowledge and wisdom (while i think there is a difference, at one level the difference starts to dissipate, till we reach a point where the difference may not actually be there), it is formal definitions which i am not too sure about. This is because none of them seem to define the essence. But thats not exactly what i am writing about. What i found interesting in the post:

But knowledge is not a result merely of filtering or algorithms. It results from a far more complex process that is social, goal-driven, contextual, and culturally-bound. We get to knowledge — especially “actionable” knowledge — by having desires and curiosity, through plotting and play, by being wrong more often than right, by talking with others and forming social bonds, by applying methods and then backing away from them, by calculation and serendipity, by rationality and intuition, by institutional processes and social roles. Most important in this regard, where the decisions are tough and knowledge is hard to come by, knowledge is not determined by information, for it is the knowing process that first decides which information is relevant, and how it is to be used.

What this means is that the idea of knowledge is more complex than we think it is. Lets look at it in two ways. To begin with, instead of looking at this as a pyramid, what if we were to look at it as a cycle? Where does datd come from, to begin with. Data comes from activities which we do, but where does the need for these activities come from, and how do we know how to do these activities. One would think, at a leve, from knowledge. So, rather than looking at it as a hierarchy, lets look at it as a cycle. And once we do that, then the thought from the blog makes more sense. That there is no linear, well-defined way which describes how information leads to knowledge. Rather than a linear form, this probably becomes a web, and the knowledge creation aspect becomes one part of the web which derives from, and contributes to, other parts of the web. As i have written about the complexity of knowledge sharing, and about scientific discovery, the process of creating and sharing knowledge is not as linear as we think it is.

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