- 160 - “. . . just as knowledge is becoming a property of the network, leadership is becoming a property less of the leader than of the group that is being led.”
- 161 - “. . . leadership becomes a property of a unit the way robustness is a property of an organism.”
- 168 - “. . . Welch’s reliance on making decisions “from the gut” (the subtitle of his memoir) can be read as a recognition that GE is too big to know with the brain.”
- 169 - some properties of network decision-making
- scales up better than hierarchical decision-making
- excels when decisions require a great deal of local knowledge
- particularly the case when situations are fluid and diverse, or the path forward is not yet fully known.
- can motivate people where hierarchical forms would have the opposite effect
- more resilient than hierarchical organizations that rest the pointy end of the pyramid on the back of a single human being.
- hierarchical decision-making reflects our traditional reductive strategies for dealing with “too big to know” world
- 173 - “Chapter 9: Building the New Infrastructure of Knowledge”
- “Over the course of the previous eight chapters, I am sure that there have been many issues and ideas about which we have disagreed. But one thing should be certain: We are in a crisis of knowledge.”
- remember back to the first section of the book, called the prologue, the title of which was: “The Crisis of Knowledge”
- kuhnian paradigm shift
- punctuation in the equilibrium
- “. . . technodeterminism says that the Net weeps in and inevitably tyrants tremble, media cartels disintegrate, and collaborative castles rise in the air.”
- 175 - “Only about 2 percent of the Harvard University library system’s physical holdings circulate every year, and most of those are the same works that circulated the previous year.”
- 176 - “Knowledge has always occurred within a context developed through some form of network and maintained through some form of links.”
- 177 - “Links erode authorial control.”
- “Links also change the basic topology of knowledge.”
- “Links are subverting not just knowledge as a system of stopping points but also the credentialing mechanism that supported that system.”
- 178 - “While the Net is not completely permission-free — you are constrained by the laws of your land, plus there is the “silent permission” that leisure time and money provide — knowledge has lost its exclusivity.”
- 179 - “There was a time when we thought we were doing the common folk a favor by keeping the important knowledge out of their reach.”
- 181 - “Our new medium of knowledge, however, can’t keep information, communication, and sociality apart.”
- 182 - “The hopeful scenario is that we will repeat the pattern history has shown us. Literacy, printing, paperback books, and television all resulted in the vulgarization of prior forms. The uneducated and barely interested wasted their time and coarsened themselves with these tools. Yet we advanced. In part, we discovered value and treasures among that which we wrote off as vulgar. But we also advanced because the disciplines dedicated to discovering knowledge and plumbing its depths have moved theneitre culture forward. The leading edge drags the trailing edge slowly behind it . . .. This is not inevitable, but it happens. We can hope that it will happen more swiftly and evenly now that knowledge’s medium is more accessible than ever before.”
- 192 - “If we want the Net to move knowledge forward, then we need to educate our children from the earliest possible age about how to use the Net, how to evaluate knowledge claims, and how to love difference.”
- “. . . new media ecology.”
- 200 million more men have access to the Internet than women,
sure thing bro.
Weinberger is careful to assign the above titular mentality to a caricature of technodeterminism, or technological optimism. Through that statement, among others, he carefully positions himself as a techno-realist. It seems from "Too Big to Know," however, that the internet and the new ecology of knowledge it is creating is so potent that even techno-realists are a little too naively optimistic for me.
For example when Weinberger says, "There was a time when we thought we were doing the common folk a favor by keeping the important knowledge out of their reach, (p. 179)" it seems the implication is that we are no longer keeping important knowledge out of the reach of common folk. He cites the persecution of John Wycliffe for his attempt to vulgarize the bible into English. Perhaps we are not so overtly denying the common folk access to information but denying them we still are, only through the more insidious means of institutional and systemic depravity and abject-eductionlessness.
Though perhaps not unaware of it himself, Weinberger's text seems to lose sight of the important distinction between the Nets capacity for information democratization and its actuality.
When Weinberger says that the "new medium of knowledge . . . can't keep information, communication, and sociality apart, (181)" he neglects to mention who, exactly, composes this new social community.
That community is still overwhelmingly male. According to the United Nations Broadband Commission Working Group, 200 million more men have access to the internet than women.
That community is still composed most entirely of the people of the Global North (the major exception being only China which, of course, due to the restrictions of its censoring system, does not genuinely participate in the knowledge ecosystem). Just take a look at this hexadesic cartogram. When looking at this graphic keep in mind that 85% of the world's population lives in the Global South
The internet is mostly in English. So if you don't speak it, sorry, this new and revolutionary "global" knowledge generation and dissemination community is not for you.
The internet is also young, very young, accord to Pew Research Center. Which some people might consider a good thing, but I for one, American domestic politics and religion aside, bemoan the loss of entire generations worth of insight and perspective from the Net.
This complaint is not at the expense of Weinberger's entire argument. I respect his perspective, I respect his insight. I am fully persuaded of his claim that we are in a crisis of knowledge, I find it as indisputable as he does. I just want the book to be regarded as a description of the Nets potentiality, and perhaps a call to actualize that potential.