A Single Future or
Even if one accepts the notion that our future holds
what for many individuals and organizations will be a revolution
in the sharing of knowledge, there is no such thing as the
future in a singular sense. There are many scenarios for a
future state of knowledge sharing. Moreover, these conditions and
practices of knowledge sharing will differ in significant ways across
the globe. And they will vary dramatically within organizations,
communities, and nations, based on the preferences, capacities,
and choices made by individuals, enterprises, and governments.
The author of the novel The Neuromancer, William
Gibson, said The future is already here; it is just not distributed
very well. Meaning that many of the social/ economic/ technological
elements of the future that we will eventually experience already
exist today. Those elements have proponents and users. However,
the future will be the result of competition between the established
order and other possibilities, some of which will require jump shifts.
The particular future conditions that emerge will depend on personal
and organizational decisions not yet made, technologies not yet
invented or not yet deployed at sufficient scale to be influential,
and human preferences not yet verified through choosing from real
alternatives. So we describe and project futures with humility,
not hubris, using the language of scenarios and choice, not monolithic,
Choosing How to Participate
in the Knowledge Revolution
It is about choice. As our capacity to share knowledge
increases, individuals and organizations will make choices about
how they will acquire, process, and assimilate knowledge.
The range of choices will be far greater than today.
But one fact is clear: those individuals and organizations that
achieve a quantum leap in their capacity to acquire, process, assimilate,
and share knowledge will enjoy a relative competitive advantage
in the Knowledge Economy.
It is also about chance. The uncertainties and imponderables
in todays world seem much more daunting than they did in the
1990s. Continuing problems with the economy, political setbacks,
and terrorism remind us that progress cannot be guaranteed. An unfortunate
confluence of these conditions could seriously retard the development
of the Knowledge Economy and a revolution in knowledge sharing.
And it is about readiness. Current owners of large
bodies of knowledge resources will attempt to extend and preserve
existing paradigms. Under normal conditions, new approaches will
be invented by outsiders and deployed despite the efforts of the
defenders of the status quo. It pays for organizations and individuals
to prepare for the coming paradigm shift in knowledge sharing. This
book attempts to provide the insights and recommended actions that
will accelerate organizational and individual readiness for e-knowledge.
Today, many of the technologies and practices required
for pervasive e-knowledge exist as proof-of-concept pilots or early
deployment prototypes. Progressive developments in standards, commercialization,
deployment, and acceptance are needed for the e-Knowledge Industry
to firmly take root. We believe conditions are favorable for these
to occur in large measure between now and the year 2010.