The Weakest Link: Notes

Gather and Broadcast
Everyone has useful knowledge and information. Crowdsourcing, citizens journalism, user generated content and most of Web 2.0 provide very useful tools and initiatives to support information gathering and broadcast, which are fine for information contributions requiring broadcast. But some simple examples may help highlight many issues that still need to be resolved, for effective collaboration.

Imagine, for example, that you are working for an information or security agency that is part of a wide collaboration network, using crowdsourcing and Web 2.0, for example again, and that in some of your work and research, you learn that a group of individuals are learning to fly airplanes and do not seem interested in learning to land. Should you share that knowledge and if so, why, when, where, who with, and how? How validated is that information? what would happen if the public media had the information? Would it jeopardize any further investigation? Create assumptions? Trigger rage, or panic, or mockery, or indifference? They could be preparing terrorists, or students on an experiment, or pranksters looking for fame. So what sharing should be done and how would you control it? The current responsible and legal answer is that the information should not be shared because inadequately sharing it could cause irreparable damages, probably worse than the potential risk. On the other hand, if the information could be shared adequately with all the required expertise, support, and control, then, it may be possible to validate, investigate, track, as well as also prevent disaster, crisis, wars, and costs.

The case is not much different if I learn that my neighbor's house is not earthquake proof, should I share that information on the public earthquake collaboration group's crowdsourcing site? Would that help anyone? On the other hand, with an adequate sharing platform, we could possibly get some support to help him remedy the situation, without destroying the value of his house and his reputation.

Context, Time, and Place
Information broadcast is good but respect and consideration are better and the best is when it all works properly together. Every piece of information and knowledge has its sources as well has its effective targets, at different points in time, space, and context. Once we have fixed the neighbor's house, the same information could be ready for a larger target audience, as well as provide a new collaboration model, but it is essential that sharing is done adequately and that the knowledge owners and responsible entities control that sharing.

The keys to effective collaboration include:

  • Information gathering and broadcasting technologies (e.g. crowdsourcing, citizens journalism, user generated content, Web 2.0)
  • Integrated resilient networking, for all
  • Knowledge entitlement, management, modeling, and sharing framework and professional services
  • A solid knowledge architecture paradigm
  • Integrated knowledge classification
  • Human and machine readable, streamable, and transformable knowledge representation (e.g. based on XML)

Knowledge Infrastructure
Giving everything to all, forever, might be good, if we could, but I believe that even then, entitlement would still be an issue. Any realistic case of giving, still requires answering questions including what, when, how, why, to whom, still requiring entitlement. Effective sharing is even much more specific and constrained. In fact, entitlement is a fundamental structural natural knowledge management principle. We typically know it intuitively in our everyday lives (e.g. if I lend my car to a friend for an event, I assume that the car will be returned properly), but now, with these new powerful open knowledge and information sharing networks and applications, we also require the infrastructure to support classification, entitlement, and tracking.

Building on knowledge sharing, based on entitlement, collaboration is the greatest productivity factor. Let's enable it for the information age and economy.

Continue to