#UOKM ?

Je vous le dis…

Un cours avec Le Pierre Lévy, une opportunité, une chance à saisir mais à ne pas prendre pour acquise. La session touche à sa fin et c’est le moment de faire une réflexion sur tout ce qu’on a appris tout au long de ce voyage curatif. Alors #UOKM ? Oui, University of Ottawa Knowledge Management ou encore en français « La gestion des connaissances », plutôt un savoir, je dirais, dont on a fait l’expérience. Le professeur est parti pour laisser cette chance à la collectivité de continuer, individuellement, l’expérience du savoir à travers des outils et des concepts étudiés au courant de ce semestre à savoir : l’intelligence collective, la curation de données, les Big Data et bien d’autres reliés de près ou de loin à la gestion des connaissances.

La gestion des connaissances implique initialement la transmission du savoir. Une opération  basée sur la communication. En fait, si on fouille bien on trouve qu’il existe un lien fondamental entre l’histoire de la communication et l’histoire de la transmission du savoir. En effet, initialement transmis par voie orale par les sages et savants, le savoir commence à se diffuser plus largement par le biais des rouleaux, parchemins et autre support d’écriture suite à l’invention de celle-ci. Les grecs créent alors la « paideia », ou l’éducation. Arrive alors la renaissance, et avec elle l’invention de l’imprimerie. Le savoir peut alors s’exporter encore un peu plus grâce aux livres et autres support d’imprimerie. On voit alors apparaître les premiers traités de pédagogie.

Aujourd’hui, avec l’invention d’Internet, le savoir est accessible par tous. On passe ainsi d’un espace restreint d’apprentissage (école, université, bibliothèque, etc.) à un terrain illimité puisque le savoir est désormais accessible partout dans le monde ! Il suffit d’être connecté pour l’avoir dans les mains, mais pas dans la tête. En effet, le savoir étant déplacé sur la toile, laisse l’esprit libre à la population d’en faire l’expérience, de l’assimiler petit à petit, en tout temps. Cependant, il y en a trop, trop pour être assimilé comme nous l’affirme David Weinberger dans son ouvrage Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room que j’ai eu le plaisir et la chance de lire et de résumer. Face à cette nouvelle forme de savoir numérique qui touche tous les secteurs de la société, un changement rapide se fait à travers les générations. On assiste à la naissance des « natifs numériques » comme dirait Prensky. Ces enfants du numériques, que nous sommes, laisse le typographique pour l’algorithmique.

L’algorithme est en effet la base d’internet, la base même du numérique. C’est lui qui nous permet la recherche, la consultation, la sélection, la transmission, la distribution, etc. de toutes ces données présentes sur le world wide web. Chaque réseau social comme Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. est un exemple de la communication algorithmique. Prenons Twitter comme exemple, un réseau social qu’on a utilisé en classe à des fins éducationnelles, chaque utilisateur de ce réseau social se sert de la même base de données (Twitter) pour communiquer et ainsi chacun d’entre nous peut voir ce que toutes les personnes de la même base de données publient. Par conséquent, grâce à ce réseau virtuel, il nous est possible d’accéder à plusieurs bulles cognitives d’où une multitude d’informations et une diversité d’opinions, une nouvelle perspective sur un monde considérablement plus vaste. Très vaste. Une vastitude qui regroupe l’intelligence de chaque composant de manière collective, liés d’une interdépendance qui s’alimente de la distribution du savoir et des connaissances ayant pour but ultime de servir l’intelligence collective.

Afin de pourvoir naviguer à travers les données sans s’y perdre, cap sur l’information, on a besoin de tracer un chemin, de suivre le fil. Comme on a toujours fait pour mieux comprendre ce qui se passe dans notre environnement, et on le fait toujours, la catégorisation. Du général vers le spécifique, cherchant l’Information. Rien que ce petit hashtag « # » qu’on utilise pour classer nos photos, nos tweet ou tout simplement, nos données. Cette curation de données, nous la faisons tous, consciemment ou non, pour servir l’intelligence collective et pour enfin nous permettre de faire l’expérience du savoir, de le transformer en connaissance. Essayez, vous verrez. Rien qu’avec ce petit « # » pour pouvez aller sut Twitter et utiliser cet outil pour votre curation données. Un simple « #UOKM » dans la barre de recherche et le tour est joué.

Cette compétence clé possède plusieurs caractéristiques illustrées dans le tableau suivant :

curation de données

Les plateformes en ligne permettant la curation de données ne manquent pas ; Professeur Lévy nous a introduits à l’une d’entre elles : Scoop.it qui est une plateforme en ligne de curation de contenu proposant à ses utilisateurs de faire leur propre veille et de partager celle-ci avec d’autres utilisateurs.

Un autre concept clé auquel Professeur Lévy nous a initiés, le Big Data. Un concept qui change tout ce qu’on a autrefois pensé de la finance, du business. Des géants comme Google et Facebook qui produisent un nombre inimaginable de données chaque jour pour leur profit. Pour les chercheurs, ces données complexes sont appelées Big Data, si complexes et d’une grande valeur qu’ils sont considérés comme actif économique. Tous les réseaux sociaux qu’on utilise et la curation de données qu’on fait chaque jour, génère des Big Data revendus par les géants de l’industrie de l’information.

Je vais conclure avec un autre concept clé qu’on a eu la chance d’étudier mais ce n’est sûrement pas le dernier qu’on a vu dans ce cours ; La société en réseau. Manuel Castells, un expert en ce domaine, explique comment les technologies de la communication de masse a fait émerger une société en réseau capable de balancer les mesures du pouvoir. On l’a vu, à travers les médias sociaux, il n y a pas si longtemps en Tunisie et ailleurs, ce qu’on appelle le printemps arabe. Une révolution mobilisée à travers une société connectée, en réseau.

Cette ère de médias sociaux, cette société en réseau… Comment ces technologies affectent nos vies ? J’avais une réponse avant de suivre ce cours. Maintenant, j’en ai une meilleure. A travers les lectures, les présentations, les discussions, les critiques et les questions ouvertes qui restent sans réponses définitives, d’ailleurs aucune réponse ne l’est, j’ai fait l’expérience du savoir en action. UOKM m’a appris que tout se passe maintenant, que tout est hyper lié et que l’humanisme numérique est rendu au cœur de l’humanisme.

Human robot

PS : Je ne vais pas jouer avec les mots comme j’aime faire souvent, je souhaite juste faire part de ma gratitude envers Professeur Pierre Lévy, désormais, l’un de mes éducateurs pour la vie.

Quelques hyperliens pour rester hyper-connectés et aller plus loin…

La curation collaborative de données

http://www.scoop.it/t/communication-and-km/?tag=curation

Sur la science des données

http://www.scoop.it/t/big-data-cloud-and-social-everything

https://www.wired.com/2016/11/google-facebook-microsoft-remaking-around-ai/

http://www.theverge.com/a/mark-zuckerberg-future-of-facebook

Why Deep Learning Is Suddenly Changing Your Life

http://blockgeeks.com/guides/what-is-blockchain-technology/

https://www.fastcompany.com/3035723/app-economy/smart-contracts-could-be-cryptocurrencys-killer-app

http://www.scoop.it/t/the-rise-of-the-algorithmic-medium/?tag=blockchain

http://charman-anderson.com/2016/09/28/us-newspapers-lost-advertising-revenue-found/

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/jul/28/data-journalism

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers2.cfm?abstract_id=2806640

http://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_how_to_avoid_a_post_truth_world?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter#

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2015/07/14/the-case-against-the-journal-article/

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2016/10/25/open-research-for-academics-how-to-be-an-academic-in-the-twenty-first-century/

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/do-academic-social-networks-share-academics-interests

http://blogs.plos.org/opens/2014/08/15/rise-rise-creative-commons-1-2m-cc-licensed-scholarly-articles/

https://www.actualitte.com/article/monde-edition/open-access-des-editeurs-face-a-la-communaute-universitaire/45714

http://www.zigzag-francophonie.eu/La-cyberdemocratie-en-question

http://www.archipress.org/reda/?page_id=507

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/07/israel-middle-east-internet-revolution-democracy-youth.html

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2017/03/10/is-facebook-a-site-of-political-engagement-for-young-people/

Cyber-democracy: my global political program!

http://e-learning-teleformacion.blogspot.ca/2016/11/inteligencia-colectiva-para-la.html#.WMMoFRLytE4

https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2013/12/23/the-future-of-the-scholarly-monograph/

http://toc.oreilly.com/2013/02/a-publishers-job-is-to-provide-a-good-api-for-books.html

http://alex-reid.net/2017/03/what-doeswould-data-rhetoric-look-like.html

http://henryjenkins.org/2014/08/the-democratic-surround-an-interview-with-fred-turner-part-one.html

Suivez le fil, vous trouverez le reste…

The world is far, far too big to know. Let’s get close!

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information…?

cover

About the book

Weinberger (Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder, 2007, etc.), a senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Institute for Internet and Society, argues that the collaborative, hyperlinked, instant nature of the Internet has fundamentally altered the way humans relate with knowledge. In the Gutenberg age, because of the finite nature of the book, limited by both its number of pages and the number of copies that could be printed, knowledge was necessarily ordered and hierarchical. The author added pieces to the collective store of knowledge, while publishers, editors, librarians and the community of scholars decided for the common good what was and was not important to know. The Internet has radically upended that hierarchy and knocked down the walls of the knowledge store. In 1989, pundits worried that with 1,000 books published in the world every day, people were suffering from information overload. That was small potatoes, it turns out. In 2008, Weinberger writes, Americans consumed 3.6 zettabytes, “a number so large that we have to do research just to understand it.” The author suggests that we make peace with this overwhelming state of affairs, and it seems many of us already have. The democratizing of knowledge is not without its dangers. Bad information has equal access to the common well with good information, and is just as viral. But crowdsourced and refereed resources like Wikipedia give Weinberger hope. The difference between the old style of knowing and the new one is embodied in the differences between a set of encyclopedias and Google. One can fit on a shelf; the other is uncontainable, essentially “an infrastructure of connection.”

A witty and wise companion in this new age of information overload.

Let’s dig

If we look at the bastions of knowledge, things that are emblems of knowledge in our culture like physical emblems, full works of knowledge, things that we put up because we’re proud to know like encyclopedias, they’re all just sort of coming apart. In the past years, the newspapers were a proud sign of cultural commitment to knowledge. They’re being degraded and nobody knows what their future is going to be or if they will even have one. Libraries also, if you ask librarians they’ll tell you they know it’s going to be different but they can’t tell you how. The public libraries that are symbols of a city’ love of knowledge, we can never know what will happen to them either. This is quite staggering, when seeing all of these very symbols of knowledge played at the risk of falling over and all that it takes is a simple little click on a hyperlink this little bit of technology which is of course embedded in much bigger technology. So the question is: How could these emblems of knowledge and the institutions based on it fall apart?

It is an important question to ask because in the western culture, as the Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan quotes it: “everyone is entitled to his own opinion not his own facts”, people think that “if we all just focus, get together, have a good honest conversation, we can all come to agreement”. That is and still be the conception of one and only knowledge, The Knowledge that will get over our differences and bring us together… But what is Knowledge?

Well in the western culture, we first thought that knowledge is the big picture of the world, a picture that we build up fact by fact and all the facts fit together. We did this across generations until it fell apart so we finally assumed that knowledge is a matter of filtering and winnowing from the stream of “true” perceptions and beliefs in order to find its true value. So to do this we first have to elaborate strategies based one fact: The world is far, far too big to know.

So based on this undeniable fact, we begin by simply taking a small complex piece of this world and try to look deep into it. We? Not us. Only experts, of course. And then we can go to these experts or read their books and then ask questions and get answers. The important thing here is that we don’t go further, we believe that it is too complex for us to rerun the experiment or the research so we don’t question the system of knowledge and how it is made. But what if we don’t trust the answer? Well here we have another system to back up the first one which is a system of credentials then we can see what qualifies the expert to say so. “So knowledge has been a system of stopping points justified by a series of stopping points” and that really works! Maybe not as efficiently as Weinberger states because it works mostly for paper based knowledge, books and journals which, as a medium (media), are “disconnected” as the author quotes “One thing that they’re not good at is connecting to other books because they’re stuck between covers and their shelves apart”. And because the books are quite small, even big ones, compared to what there is to know in this world so we thought of it as a long format type of knowledge, longly thought and settled. Now, we have a new form, a new medium where links are, as Weinberger describes it, the new type of punctuation that unlike the old ones that tells us where and how to stop, these links tell us how to continue and give us the means to continue. And this offers new possibilities as for example if we’re reading a book and we want to check for the reliability of a reference in the footnotes, we probably have to go to the library or somewhere else to look for it. Now, we just have to click on it and we’re already there. Now, knowledge is picking up the properties of the new medium as it did for the old one.

Realistically, we’ll not be able to define all of the properties of the Internet but here are four of its most important characteristics:

Too much

As Clay Shirky quotes “there is no such things as information overload, there is only filter failure”. What he may mean by this is that we’ll always come to a point where there is too much of an overload and so we should always keep on adjusting our filters. And that explains why we get nervous when our filters are broken, because we are overloaded. So every time there is an overload (and there is an overload every time), we take our filters and curate. To understand that, Weinberger made a comparison between the old and the new way of filtering; If we go down to a library you’ll find the new books on a new shelve but you’ll surely miss the millions of books that were published last year or the year before because they were removed to make a place for new comers. So we see what’s there and remove what’s not. Now, the filters are digital so if we want to do the same thing, we will not remove anything at all, we’ll just reduce the number of clicks to get there but creating some sort of a shortcut. That’s all about curation. Let’s say if I’m publishing on my blog, I’m not removing what’s out there, I’m just making decisions of what could be of interest for my readers and pushing it up front. And that’s very important because, as Weinberger confirm, inclusion is more efficient than exclusion in a way that we don’t even know what could be of interest in the future, all we can do is predict.

Messy

For people who are obsessed with order and really like to organize stuff, this could be very disturbing. We thought that we were getting how the world is by being good at organizing things and so if everything has a spot in the universe, Aristotly thinking, if we know what thing is in what spot, its right and only spot, we would know the world and so not knowing this was not knowing the world. As Weinberger describes it, physically, in this world, we can’t have two things at the same spot, at some point, one thing is going to gain order. The error not to make here is to think that this can apply to ideas as it is applied to things; If we have a tone of CDs, we can only arrange them in one way at a time then we have to change to another order but on a digital platform, we can simply make another playlist without changing the old one, we can make tones of playlists. “It sure can be a mess but it is a rich mess” and messiness is a way to scale meaning…

Unsettled

“For every fact on the internet there is an equal and opposite fact”. There is nothing that we all agree on! Facts are here but they’re not only based on theory, they’re also based on interest and I’m not saying that knowledge is not based on facts. I’m quoting Weinberger that says “…The idea that the house of knowledge is built on a foundation of facts is not itself a fact” and this is changing the role that facts have played in the construction of knowledge because now that we’ve brought our information and communication technologies together, learning a fact can be the same as publishing a fact to the world. So now we’re not even sure that the Senator Moynihan said what he said (everyone is entitled to his own opinion not his own facts) but we can take the content of what we think he said as a fact. And if we do so, every opinion has a spot but has also the possibility to move to another spot with another opinion if they both agree on the same fact. The author argues that if we can’t do so, this could be a serious issue. He calls it the echo chamber; if people begin to hang out only with whom they agree, they can go extreme with certain beliefs and that contradicts the openness of the Internet. Weinberger also states that real conversations are conversations between people that disagree deeply and that are able to dig deeper to get settled.

Unstructured

Well we talked a bit about some structured long form work of knowledge such as books. A book surely can take us from a journey of thoughts, not knowing where it is culminating, taking the reader to some place he was not expecting to go. This is great but not in fact, the greatest way. The author takes Darwin for example, who wrote one of the truly successful long form works, well it took people where they didn’t expect to go and convinced them of what they didn’t expect to believe and if Darwin were to rewrite his long form work now, it might be the same but it would be on the Internet or at least the discussion of it. In that way, the Internet becomes more important than the work itself because this is where all the thinking process happens, “this is where the knowledge is developed, this is where the knowledge lives”. Weinberger thinks that there is a de-structuring of knowledge happening at this level. If we take another example of Darwin again, he spent seven years studying barnacles on earth to discover whether they’re mollusks or crustaceans, seven years collecting data, looking for a fact, before publishing volumes of long form knowledge based work well structured and settled. Now, talking about data, it seems like we’re not on earth anymore. We’re seeing clouds with massive amount of data that are different from facts and that we cannot scale because it will take a long time, much longer than the seven years Darwin spent looking for one fact so it will remain unstructured until who knows…?

***

If we observe the properties of both forms of knowledge we find that it has always been bounded between books, scarce, settled and orderly going step by step and it proceeds through reason while the knowledge at the age of Internet is unbounded, linked but overwhelming, unsettled, messy and based on connections drawn by interest. So Weinberger is concluding that “Knowledge may or may not be truer about the world, but it is truer about knowing” in a way that we may not know much of the truth but we certainly know something. And that leads to another conclusion which is that we all have in common not “one knowledge about which we agree but a shared world about which we disagree”. This connection not only enables us to share knowledge but also to create it and if we’re still wondering where all of the knowledge goes, we should check in the room where we place our smart work, the room that’s becoming smarter than us… the question is : Are we getting dumber?

***

Links to stay connected

Inspired from the writings and sayings of David Weinberger