Thursday, July 21, 2005

People as interchangable knowledge components-NOT

I'm sitting here thinking about the power of Google (and related search engines) and it occurs to me that, if you're smart, and you know how to use the tools, you are AS smart as the smartest and most knowledgeable expert on the planet about almost any narrow subject you can imagine.

The global access to information that's exploded via the internet and tools like Google have made it possible. So, what's that mean to people? Well, what it does off the cuff is negate the need for consultants. Who needs em? ANY person within a company or institution that has any brains and can use the tools can be as knowledgeable on the data of a subject within hours as someone with a PhD in computer science or nanotechnology. It's the EDITORSHIP of that information that has value. If you've got context and knowledge in your mind that others don't have, knowledge that allows you to create connections between what appear to be disparate bits of unrelated data, you've created information.

Now, wrap your own experience in an industry, it's players, it's politics and it's marketplace all together, you've taken that information, and you've transformed it into knowledge. If you're able to effectively communicate it to others (or yourself) in a way that's understandable and actionable, well, you've just taken the leap to wisdom. Data->Information->Knowledge->Wisdom. Funny, I started this post out thinking that Google made everyone as effective as a high powered consultant or company executive and that people, even knowledge workers, where really just becoming cogs in a bigger mechanism.

As I write, I change my mind. The fear we American's have of outsourcing our 'information workers' to India or China is really not a threat. You can't take the big picture and shove it down the minds of programmers in Bangladesh. That set of knowledge is too broad and too tied to relationships and politics to transfer. And that set of knowledge, propertly combined into one or a few minds, is where the creative juice to make things happen, happens. So, fear not o smart folk of the world. You are not going to be outsourced anytime soon. You ARE going to have to use more of your mind and your skills, particularly the skill of communication. SGC

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