A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge
TABLE OF CONTENTS     What is e-Knowledge?   © SCUP 2003
  Page 25      

Pervasive Technology Changes How We “Experience” Knowledge (continued)



Chapter 1

What is e-Knowledge?

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Ability to Multi-task Knowledge Streams. Today’s knowledge navigators quickly fill their personal knowledge-processing bandwidths. Multi-tasking is limited severely by the state of today’s knowledge tools.

The combination of high amenity interfaces, ambient resources, agents, and peer- reviewed knowledge marketplaces will dramatically reduce the time required for knowledge search and synthesis. Knowledge navigators will be able to draw upon more streams of knowledge at one time without overwhelming their limited attention capacity.

Amenity of the Knowledge Experience. Amenity has been achieved by traditional means of acquiring and sharing knowledge — conversation, books, newspapers, other print media, television, video, and the like. These media usually fit seamlessly into our lives. On the other hand, today’s experience of engaging digital knowledge is still uncomfortable and distinct from one’s other activities.

In our future, engagement with digital knowledge will acquire amenity. The physical interfaces, means of interacting, languages, and other aspects of the knowledge experience will be familiar and easy. In some cases they be peripheral, indistinguishable, even involuntary. For knowledge denizens buying into accelerated knowledge sharing, pervasive interactivity and knowledge engagement will be as much a part of life as breathing.

The Challenge of Accommodating
Different Knowledge Experiences

As we enter this brave new world of quantum leaps in the velocity and acceleration of knowledge assimilation, a variety of challenges will emerge.


The greatest will be the divide between what Marc Prensky labels “digital natives” (net or digital generation people), who are comfortable with using digital tools to accelerate ways of experiencing knowledge, and “digital immigrants” (some generation X people and most Baby Boomers), who are programmed to experience knowledge in slow, sequential, and long-shelf-life ways. As digital natives embrace the new ways of experiencing knowledge, think of the existing gaps that will become chasms in our organizations—between managers and front-line workers, between faculty and learners, between boards of directors and staffs.

To a greater extent than we previously thought, people can acquire new ways of thinking and experiencing knowledge. But it is hard work. The easy part of the e-knowledge revolution will be developing the infrastructures, tools, processes, and competencies for e-knowledge use among the digerati. The harder task will be for organizations to enable and incentivize both digital natives and digital immigrants to embrace new ways of experiencing knowledge.

New Experiences Shape New Behaviors, Practices, and Social Groupings

How will new ways of experiencing knowledge change the behavior and social patterns of knowledge-seeking individuals and enterprises in the Knowledge Age? And how could that lead to new social and economic structures and processes based on knowledge? The following practices of people on the leading edge of the Knowledge Age may yield some clues.

Swarming. Preteens in Finland, young professional in Korea, and Senate staffers in Washington D.C. all have one thing in common: they swarm. Swarming is the behavior pattern of groups of amorphous groups of cell phone users who communicate to one another about where the best party is, what movie they all want to see, or which of several meetings they need to attend, then swarm together in response to the information.


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  The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.
Sydney Harris