Discussing different perspectives on data, info, knowledge, and wisdom in class was a very interesting experience. I appreciate that our class is full of people with so many diverse backgrounds. I think that it’s a wonderful thing to be able to work something out in my own head and then have my own ideas built upon and enriched by the ideas of others. Sometimes, my own conclusions are strengthened; sometimes they’re altered and adjusted; and sometimes my conclusions are overthrown and I have to start from scratch. As we were talking about collective knowledge, I began to think about the differences between internal knowledge (what I generally think of when I’m thinking about the concept of knowledge) and a body of knowledge. I think this conversation we have…this adjusting of our own knowledge…the sharing of ideas…I think it all works together to become a type of collective knowledge.
During the classroom discussion, I also began to think about the quality of information…the quality of knowledge. It occurred to me that just because we have data…and information, the quality of the knowledge we gain from this is very subjective. I suppose it’s good knowledge if it works in practical application. Following that train of thought, however, so many awful applications of “knowledge” can be listed…genocides left and right…justified by some “knowledge” formed from some information.
I think it’s much easier to talk about data, information and knowledge when we are talking about one specific stream. It’s much easier to look at a microscopic aspect rather than the macroscopic overview. Humans are so full of idiosyncrasies and exceptions that it seems for every rule, there are a million exceptions. Even so, it’s a great thing to have the chance to express our various viewpoints and build a type of database holding the data of difference between us. I think it’s only when we start becoming aware of our differences (and similarities) that we can begin to build meaningful connections. The discussion we have in class is doing all those things, at least for me; making me re-evaluate my conclusions…a process that I believe is very valuable.