SUMMARY - Too Big to Know_ Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest P - David Weinberger

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Here is a summary of the key points from the passage:

  • In the 18th-19th centuries, there was a shift from using principles, analogies and moral reasoning to guide knowledge and policy making, to emphasizing facts and empirical evidence.

  • Philosophers like Jeremy Bentham promoted making policy decisions based on quantifying utility and happiness, which required collecting factual data on people's lived experiences.

  • Parliament started commissioning "blue books" with statistical reports and interviews to inform debates, advancing social reform efforts.

  • Initially skeptical novelists like Dickens felt overreliance on facts lacked nuance, but facts continued gaining prominence.

  • Using fact-finding missions to resolve international disputes replaced war, showing facts displaced moral arguments in geopolitics.

  • By the 20th century, collecting and analyzing facts/evidence had become the accepted basis for knowledge and policy across many domains of society and government.

So in summary, the passage traces the rising emphasis on facts over principles in England from the 18th-19th centuries, which influenced thought, policymaking and helped resolve disputes in various spheres.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • MITRE values leveraging their entire community of experts, rather than any individual, to deeply understand government problems.

  • They have created an open environment where anyone can publish and share their knowledge and expertise, rather than narrowly designating only certain people as "official experts." Their internal search helps connect people to relevant experts.

  • The forums at MITRE allow for differing viewpoints from multiple experts, rather than trying to reach consensus. This network approach is seen as smarter than just relying on specific individuals' opinions in isolation.

  • Experts communicate openly and build on each other's knowledge, leading to faster solutions than traditional closed models where experts work alone.

  • The focus is on timely sharing of expertise through discussions and briefings rather than static written reports, better reflecting networked collaboration enabled by their organization.

So in summary, MITRE leverages open networking of all available expertise internally to deeply understand problems, rather than relying on small groups of officially designated experts working independently.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Jay Rosen runs the influential blog PressThink.org, which analyzes issues around journalism, media and the public sphere.

  • Rosen argues that the concept of "the audience" is outdated and harmful in an age where ordinary people can participate in media through blogs, social platforms, etc.

  • Instead of passive audiences, we have "publics" - groups of people who can aggregate attention and influence without institutional authority or credentials.

  • Publics form spontaneously around issues they care about and big media no longer has a monopoly on attention. They compete for attention alongside other information sources.

  • Rosen advocates for “publicness” - a media system and culture open to participation by nonexperts. Citizens should be treated as constituents of professional communicators, not just customers or audiences.

  • His ideas influenced influential news innovators like Ezra Klein andsuggest a model of bottom-up distributed expertise rather than top-down authority. Everyone can potentially contribute to knowledge and understanding.

In summary, Rosen argues the traditional notions of audiences are outdated and media needs to focus more on cultivating engaged publics through open participation rather than just broadcasting to passive receivers of information.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Traditional scientific publishing focuses on positive results and significant findings, overlooking negative or null results. However, these negative results can provide valuable insights for other researchers.

  • Jean-Claude Bradley pioneered the practice of "open-notebook science," openly recording and sharing all experimental results from his lab in real-time, including failures, through a blog and wiki.

  • This allowed other scientists to access information sooner, including important negative findings that might inform their own work. It also helped connect Bradley's research to ongoing efforts across various fields.

  • Openly sharing negative results removes bias, increases transparency, and prevents the repetition of unsuccessful experiments. It enhances the self-correcting nature of science by incorporating more data points, even non-significant ones.

  • Open-notebook science is a more collaborative approach that can accelerate research progress through broader information dissemination and integration of diverse perspectives and knowledge. Though challenging to maintain, it has benefits over traditional closed models of scientific publishing.

    Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Open and continuous sharing of science through tools like open notebooks, preprint repositories, and blogs has shifted the model from private work leading to a single publication, to a more continuous and open process.

  • This open model can cause ambiguity around credit and discovery, but overall benefits science by increasing transparency and opportunities for feedback.

  • PLoS One takes a more open approach to peer review than traditional journals, accepting papers based on scientific validity rather than perceived importance or impact. This helps disseminate more types of scientific work.

  • Their model relies less on quality judgments and more on providing legitimacy to researchers through some form of peer review. But they still rarely skip review entirely.

  • This more open model means readers must take more responsibility in finding relevant work, rather than relying on traditional journals to select only the "best" papers.

  • Open access publishing is growing and helps make scientific knowledge more widely available over the internet by breaking down traditional paywalls. Authority will come more from online networks than just selective peer-reviewed journals.

    Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Knowledge used to be restricted to credentialed experts within traditional closed systems of credentialing and expertise.

  • With digitization, knowledge is now openly published and debated online, making authority and expertise more distributed as anyone can contribute.

  • There is no centralized gatekeeping of knowledge online - while expert curation exists, metadata is important for establishing reliability rather than overall permission.

  • Works are situated through their connections to other discussions and debates online, so knowledge emerges from networks of commentary as much as standalone content.

  • Drafts, debates and processes are often publicly visible online, revealing the human construction of knowledge rather than presenting it as objective fact.

  • Overall, digitization has made knowledge vastly more abundant, interconnected, participatory, contextualized and works-in-progress oriented compared to traditional closed systems of expertise and curation.

    Here is a summary of the key points from the article:

  • Books will continue to exist in printed format alongside growing adoption of e-books and digital formats. However, printed books are still preferred for long-form reading.

  • The internet enables a more networked, collaborative model of knowledge sharing compared to isolated printed books. Knowledge online can be fluid, dynamically updated by many contributors, and incorporate diverse perspectives.

  • Projects like the Digital Public Library of America aim to make more works freely available digitally, but copyright limits what can be shared.

  • Online annotation, commenting and tagging allow new forms of discussion and debate to emerge around published works, making knowledge more social and dispersed beyond authors.

  • Open access online has democratizing effects but can also spread misinformation more easily without fact-checking.

  • Books provide trusted, edited information but knowledge is trending toward a networked model that is collaborative, multimedia and incorporates new commentary over time. Both print and digital formats will likely continue evolving together.

Overall it presents an overview of how digital technologies are impacting the future of books and discussions around knowledge sharing. Both print and online formats will continue to be important as each evolves.

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