Monday, 20 February 2006

Connectedness - 2

This is the fifth in a series on "Information, language, knowledge and connectedness". The previous posts are part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.

I have assumed that we live in a coherent world meaning that an action I take will have the same effect on me as it has effect on you. For example, if I throw an apple up, it will fall down again. If you throw an apple up, it will ALSO fall down again, under similar circumstances of course. Remarkable, this will create internal world views very similar between you and me. I would suggest we have a larger portion of our internal world views similar than different.

We communicate, through a shared common language. The meaning of different elements of the language have been slowly and painstakingly negotiated through our years of living. The negotiation may be mediated through tools such as dictionary or directly as I am trying to explain how I use the term "information" and "knowledge" in this series of posts.

We like to leave marks in the world, through rock drawing, graffiti, creating great structures, writing or whatever. I call these "information" as a catch-all term. With today's digital technology, different forms are converging into digital format. Let's just look at the "writing". Typically, writing represented part of the internal world view a person wanted to share with the fellow human being. That may be some special emotion, feelings, experience, ways of doing things or "knowledge". Another interesting observation is that our own internal world view has been affected to other people world view before us, though reading of other's writing.

Collectively, information becomes an archive of human experiences. Information is the manifestation of human knowledge.

Information is intrinsically inter-connected. Information is connected because information are manifestations of different people's internal world views which are all based on a coherent world that we all experience. Information is connected because it is based on language, which is shared and hence also connected. Information is connected because some of the "handles of concept" comes from other information, as in citation or references at the end of an academic paper.

The notion of "handle" has appeared in this serious more often than I first realise. As I wrote these posts, it becomes clear to me that this is of special importance and I should have given more thoughts and use a better term.

Handles are short-hand for a collection of manifestation. A handle for shared portion of our internal world views.

There are two types of disagreement: interesting and uninteresting. The uninteresting disagreements are those disagreement because we have used different handles to represent basically the same internal world views. This is easily resolved by agreeing to a common handle. The interesting disagreement are those situation whereby we have common agreed handles, but yet there are differences in the internal world views which we are trying to compare. Eventually, it would come down to our differences in experience.

Stephen Downes has an interesting example of a problem caused by "overloading" of handles - the same handle is used for different concepts/thing under different situations, search "where is Edmonton?" in his essay An Introduction to Connective Knowledge.

Now that we can "hyperlink" information so that we can "jump" from one article to another, we have yet another level of connectedness.

If we have chosen our hyperlinks carefully, the links will join and form a coherent network. My questions are "network of what?", "Is hyperlink more significant than the intrinsic connectedness of the information?" and "How can we exploit this linkage?"

The quest goes on ....

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