According to Google I am the definitive resource for information regarding womesn’s role in caveman society. According to MSN I am the definitive resource for information regarding Regina, Canada and boys (creepy). Well according to me Google and MSN are freaking wrong! But that is really not the point of this post. Google is a symptom of widely growing problem of information overload.
As I’ve posted before there is too much information in the form of unstructured content. This information is being generated at an exponential rate. According to one Gartner analyst there will be such voluminous amount of information created in the next two years that it will be twice the size of all information created in the history of man. That is a measure beyond reckoning. It is infinitely past the ability of the knowledge worker to absorb.
One not need dig deep into the information management punditry to determine that an information crisis for business is looming. However some enterprises seem to be blithe to the coming crisis. An empowered knowledge worker accessing context relevant knowledge using today’s technology is the pipe dream of delusional management inhaling the intoxicating sophistry of the in-flight magazine.
The plebeians of the open source world are equally disingenuous when they dissemble about community driven webs of knowledge that are accessible and open to all. Further scrutiny of the open source knowledge hype demonstrates lack of cohesion, infrastructure and flow of information across the ethereal boundaries of community driven knowledge. It turns out that unless you are part of the digirati bourgeois your chances of joining the plebian information proletariat are about equal to the chances of a long lived gladiator in a Roman coliseum.
There is hope. Consortium groups such as AIIM, WS-I and others are diligently working to establish common frameworks for exchanging information. Interesting social networking tools such as Digg, Del.icio.us and Technocrati attempt to bring categorization and classification to unstructured content (i.e. blogs, wikis and web sites). However they all fall short in addressing what is perhaps the most crucial element in the exchange of knowledge. That is trust.
Trust is the key element that brings worthless information value. Trust shatters perceptions and breaks down barriers. Trust is the quality that gives information the foothold it needs to become knowledge. Eventually trust in knowledge become so engrained in the knowledge DNA that it becomes part of the very fabric of existential existence.
Trust is given and never forced. I can’t force trust on a person no more than I can make a horse drink water. However through social interaction, continuous dialogue and earned respect trust is slowly given and received. Eventually networks of trust form so that direct interaction is no longer required in order for trust to bestowed. I trust the American Medical Association (AMA) not because I’ve met personally with the President of the AMA but because over time and through representation of others trusting the AMA I’ve come to accept them as a trustworthy source of medical information.
How does this relate back to information, Google and blogs? Well quite simply really. Without trust I cannot attach value to information. In effect information in the unstructured content world becomes noise and the knowledge worker becomes like a vast array of antenna dishes searching the heavens for some sign of intelligence. There is an infinite universe of noise to filter through and only through sheer chance that is absence of trust will the knowledge worker find intelligence in the noise.
So I propose that a new endeavor take form that draw on the innate human ability to discern the quality of character that establishes the root of trust. In some way we need to siliconize this very basic of human trait to trust. We need to create a network of systems that generate trust networks. These trust networks then can be utilized to discern, filter and present knowledge in context to the knowledge worker so they can be freed from the deluge of information and once again focus on the true task of the knowledge worker. The task of taking knowledge and new information and creating something wonderful previously undiscovered.
Now I suppose my work as an enterprise architect at company named removed is attempt to engage that community in a dialouge to help them realize content created is not content trusted and valued.