Carlos Leyva

Silicon Stories

Chapter 8: Knowledge Management & Infotainment

Telling Stories

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Why are we obsessed with automating that which is impossible to automate? Better to focus on the creation of knowledge and its transfer, then to control it. For thousands of years man has been transferring knowledge, from generation to generation, via storytelling, without any need for computers. To the degree that software can enhance our story telling capabilities, it has the potential of improving, instead of impeding, our ability to transfer and retain knowledge.

Learning requires interactivity, a living and breathing relationship between teacher and student, master and apprentice, producer and consumer. What’s more, these roles are transient. Today’s master on a given topic is tomorrow’s apprentice on another. Consumers no longer accept information that is shoved down their throats. They want and need the ability to talk back. It is the height of ignorance to attempt to automate human interaction out of the equation. We have become so enamored of our tools that they often blind us and rob us of our common sense. All learning occurs in a social context through conversation:

We view conversation as essential. We use it as a medium for decision-making. It is through conversation that we create, develop, validate, and share knowledge…Conversation is more than simply an intellectual endeavor: it is fundamentally a social process. Conversation is social in two ways. First, people speak to an audience. Speakers notice how their audience is reacting and steer their remarks appropriately: nods and eye contact convey one message; questions and furrowed brows another; yawns and fidgeting still another. Second conversation is social in that people portray themselves through conversation. They advance their personal agendas, project their personal style, take credit, share blame, and accomplish other social ends through their talk, often with a great deal of subtlety. The social nature of talk is not an undesirable side effect, but rather the heart of it.

Knowledge transfer requires intimate personal relationships and master teachers comfortable with their craft. How is it that we can fill volumes with KM related content and provide scant mention of teaching and education?

I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance.

—Reuben Blades

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