“Music . . . can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” ― Leonard Bernstein

pavarottiRecently I was enjoying listening to some fine singing and I heard the performer hit every note in a rich, resounding, perfect pitch. It made me consider what was happening there.

Be it Cohen or Pavarotti, at some point the performer’s brain decides to let loose a middle C and organizes lung, larynx and a myriad of muscle and nerve pathways to produce a series of sound waves from a tiny larynx and broadcast it to the world. Their job done ours starts.

Those frail little movements of air are transmitted and regenerated in many ways. A live performance is the most inspiring but even when transformed many times into digital or analogue storage then regenerated at some point a sound wave impacts on my tiny ear drums and is converted back into a message to my tiny brain and a wonderfully rich note is perceived. Starting to feel some awe? You should be!

You cannot name the unnameable. You cannot know the unknowable, yet we often recall those melodies as dear friends year after year. It’s just a lowly note but with many other such nameless movements of air, hush what beauty and joy lies there.

I started to wonder if my Middle C is the same as Pavarotti’s Middle C? How do I know if the melodic note sent into storage is the one I actually hear? In some respect there is no music except in my head. It’s a very personal thing and how deeply satisfying when the right nerves are are hit!

How fantastic are those who are deaf and can produce music. How wonderful was Beethoven to produce a symphony when deaf. How brilliant is life that a stream of music in one person’s brain can end up in another’s.

When we hear a flat note, does everyone hear a flat note? Are some people’s Middle C perceived as D flat? How would we ever know? Like the old adage is an orange still orange when your not looking at it, is what is being sung what we actually hear?

When one considers how this all happens it is both awe inspiring and overwhelming.

When we are confronted by meaningless text messages, poorly articulate politicians, or our inability to ensure the intraoperability of even simple messages and meanings between computers, why are we surprised? It has taken billions of years of evolution to get music and song to the level that we can now enjoy it (or not) as we chose. That truism demands for us to be conscious that perfecting machine based communication is going to take much, much more time than our financiers and entrepreneurs can expect or demand.

We have achieved much and we should praise ourselves for that as a species. However, there is so much more yet to be discovered even if you include the delights to be revealed from the secret back rooms of Amazon, Microsoft and Google combined.

Let us never assume information communication has evolved to its zenith, ’cause it ain’t! We can be confident that Pavarotti will be ahead for a while to come and he is no longer even with us but his notes linger on. Can you say the same for your texts?

Siempre Avante!

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OSCAR

OSCAR is a long term project to develop the construct of an internationally available Open Source Clinical Decision Rules Algorithm Repository.oscar

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Shazam – A knowledge evolutionary tool?

platoAround 2442 years ago in low tech Athens a wise thinker – Plato – demonstrated his deep understanding of the value of knowledge and the beauty of music. He understood that music gives the universe a soul, wings to our minds, flights of imagination and life to everything but equally he understood that the soul needs to live and for that knowledge is the food.

Music may be non-verbal but is clearly an audible communication that speaks directly to the human consciousness, intellect or whatever makes the soul of a human life. Music follows the rules of this universe and its physics are demonstrated in a rich and wonderful relationship to the mathematics deep within each melody and harmony – a phenomena of nature.

Sadly, unless one has the sheet music representation, music doesn’t come with its own readable metadata. Recognition of a tune or a song lies deep within the human intellect, generated by repeated hearing or practice, allowing recall and the ability to hum, innovate, whistle and sing.

Shazam is changing this knowledge weakness and further minimizing our human frailty. Once you have used it you find it unsettling in its speed and accuracy. While far from perfect, it is clearly a substantial and emerging machine enhanced knowledge skill for humanity.

shazam

Shazam is a truly innovative knowledge assistant for humans. While simple in execution, this belies the underlying complexity which is both daunting and exciting in its scope and potential. Shazam Entertainment Ltd was founded in 1999 by Chris Barton, Philip Inghelbrecht, Avery Wang and Dhiraj Mukherjee and is based in London. The company is expanding into integration within cinema, advertising, TV and retail environments. We will have to wait to see where this innovative thinking will lead.

Shazam uses built-in smart phone technology and gathers or “listens” to audio being played. It creates an acoustic fingerprint based on the sample, and compares it against a central database for a match. Sounds simple but belies the complexity of the underlying algorithms, data storage and governance needed to make it work every time. It is now able to run constantly in the background identifying for you the music that surrounds, while you do other tasks.

Is this a tool which helps us to manage information overload or infoglut or does it, with great subtlety, generate yet even more information as metadata? That data in turn driving us to look at more of the millions of new music published each year to derive an even better understanding of what is already out there.

A question to ponder as I yet again wonder what that piece of music is!

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An Internet of Things

Experience Dajuroka®!

This is a very small singularity on the mushrooming web that is morphing over time. Dajuroka gets around 1,000 hits these days and has been around in some form or other for over a decade in blogs, wikis, games and more than I can remember.

The Internet of Things refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. The term Internet of Things was proposed by Kevin Ashton in 1999.

Dajuroka’s blogs are representations of a journey through the internet and where one individual’s search and thirst for knowledge might take them. Dajuroka® Industries is a small but agile organisation involved in many aspects of knowledge management, health and safety informatics, the social world and excitement that is the web with its gaming, media, innovation and overall joy of the written and visual world!

Enjoy what links from here and the interesting areas that are blogged. They change at whim but feel free to comment, state your own views, provide interesting links that we would love to follow up. They will be moderated so be good. It is all about the connections we can make and there are an infinity of them in the in the Internet of Things.
Dajuroka® – a place to start out in search for knowledge and possibly a bit of understanding!

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President Obama speaks at University of Queensland

A presidential, well informed and well delivered speech presented in a reassuring and intelligent manner. What one has come to expect from this extremely intelligent Law Professor and one of the leaders of the world’s current superpower. A tinge of arrogance but one that is totally understandable for any United States American. It is a country of wonder and magic to most who are born elsewhere.

It would have been nice if the USA had offered to create more study links and scholarships to young and old Australians to study and research in the USA, but it was not to be.

It will be more impressive though when a USA president can sort out the internal issues of poverty, fundamentalism, ignorance and social divide in their own country. Words are easy, actions are so much more challenging.

While a wonderfully historic day for Brisbane and Queensland, I remain patiently hopeful of future historic actions to put value to the words. I fear though that post Obama, the USA will be a troubled and distressed nation until many internal issues are resolved. Those fears are compounded by the inability of the UN, the erosion of democracy, the rise of fundamentalist terrorism and continuing superficiality in the pursuit of equality.

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Knowledge – A Journey of Discovery

Toward the end of the 20th Century it was observed by many commentators and researchers that the world was moving toward an information rich or knowledge-based society (Baeyer, 2003) and that organisations that “identify, value, create and evolve their knowledge assets” (Rowley, 1999) could be successful and competitive. Drucker (1993) and others argued that knowledge would become the main competitive tool in many businesses.
Drucker (1993) described knowledge, rather than capital or labour as the only meaningful economic resource in this knowledge society, and Senge (1990) warned that many organisations were unable to function effectively as knowledge based organisations, because they suffered from learning disabilities. An organisation’s ability to know as well as learn, adapt and change has been identified as a core competency for survival (Hussain, Lucas and Asif, 2004). There appeared and remains a pervading mantra that companies must innovate and even reinvent themselves or they will cease growing or wither away. (Nunes & Breen, 2013).
Organisations are repositories of knowledge resources and many are, experiencing demands for innovation, being exposed to disruptive forces and often working internally toward reinvention (Nunes & Breen, 2013). The outcome of these disruptive forces are influenced heavily by an organization’s ability to understand, maintain, seek out and add to their knowledge resources.
The stresses and pressures unleashed by emerging technologies, globalisation, and a rapidly growing knowledge economy, explored in more detail later, are impacting and forcing individuals and organisations to seek new ways to reinvent themselves not once but continually.
These observations appeared to harmonise with comments made by Standards Australia about the pressures and impacts in the knowledge process within Australia at the start of the 21st Century.

“Knowledge creation, transmission and use remain unstructured (and hence, informal and often unconscious processes). Decisions are often made without the benefit of the best knowledge available to an organisation. Knowledge is not reused or shared, meaning staff either continually reinvent the wheel or duplicate the efforts of others elsewhere in the organisation. People are overwhelmed with information that detracts from rather that adds to their ability to do their job (paradoxically, creating a situation where staff experience a simultaneous flood and drought of information). Knowledge hoarding by staff is common, and there is little organisational interest in the value of developing knowledge capacity among staff.”
(Standards Australia report International Best Practice:
Case Studies in Knowledge Management, 2001)

Like all evolutionary processes survival and adaptation are key. Evolving organisations need to be agile and work to ensure effective information and knowledge management systems are in place. “Agility will be a top challenge this year for all organizations,” stated Dr. James Canton (2013) of the Institute for Global Futures. “We are predicting that fast and disruptive changes will be both an opportunity for growth and competitive advantage as well as a great risk. Fast change, hyper-competition and explosive innovations may catch organizations unprepared,” Companies and jurisdictions will need to adapt, learn and navigate the social, economic and technological changes that are coming. Dr. Canton’s research indicates that: “Radical innovations will lead the key disruptions business will face this year. Many companies are not future-ready to meet the global challenges that will emerge.” (Canton 2013)

Human society, and possibly humanity itself, depends on its ability to think quickly, wisely, derive valuable thoughts, manage disruption and follow through on innovative insights consequent to creating and using knowledge, both individually and organisationally. It will be in our best interests to try and understand the impacts of the cultural and societal changes being felt in both the advanced nations and the emerging industrial societies on the knowledge acquisition process.

It is hard to ignore the specific role of the internet and changes in information technology caught up in this disruption and this thesis will examine these aspects and their effect on knowledge management but there are also many larger cultural changes that are impacting and should also be considered. Looking at any one focal or global change in isolation may miss synergistic opportunities in the search for solutions.

I hope to write more about knowledge over time, examining our past and current understanding of the nature of knowledge, its precursors in data and information and its impact in the formation of modern individual and organisational wisdom, the impact of the changes referred to above and, the consequential risks of information loss and degradation of information quality. I will explore the prospects of ultimately improving our knowledge and information management systems in this changing environment and make recommendations and suggest possible solutions to try and alleviate these growing risks.

 REFERENCES

ABS (2013) Internet Activity, Australia, June 2013, [Cited: 5 Feb 2014] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/8153.0~June+2013~Chapter~Mobile+handset+subscribers?OpenDocument

Baeyer, H. C. von. (2003), Information: The New Language of Science, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Canton, J. (2013) Global Futures Forecast: Annual top trends forecast that will shape 2013 and beyond.

Cziko, G. (1995), Without Miracles: Universal Selection Theory and the Second Darwin Revolution. MIT Press, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

Davidson, C. and Voss, P., (2005), Knowledge Management, Orient Paperbacks, India

Doren, C. Van. (1991), A History of Knowledge: Past, Present, and Future. The pivotal events, people and achievements of world history. Ballantine Book, Random House, New York, USA.

Drucker, P. (1993), Post Capitalist Society, Harper Row, New York, NY.

Hawkins, J. and Blakeslee, S. (2004), On Intelligence , Times Books, New York, USA

Hussain, F., Lucas, C. & Asif Ali, M. (2004) Managing Knowledge Effectively, Journal of Knowledge

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Nonaka, I. and Takeuchi, H. (1995) Knowledge-Creating Company : How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. Oxford University Press, New York, USA

Nunes, P. and Breene, T. (2013), Reinvent Your Business Before It’s Too Late. Harvard Business Review on Rebuilding Your Business Model, pp19-39, Harvard Business Press, USA

O’Dell, C. and Grayson, C.J. (1998), If Only We Knew What We Know: The Transfer of Internal Knowledge and Best Practice, The Free Press, New York, USA

Plato. (1892), The Dialogues of Plato. 3rd Ed., (translated by Jowett, B.) Macmillan and Co, New York, accessed at https://openlibrary.org/books/OL17872706M/The_dialogues_of_Plato

Polanyi, M. (1975), The Tacit Dimension, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA

Rheingold, H,. (2003), Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, Basic Books, Cambridge, USA.

Reich, R. (1992), The Work of Nations. Vintage Books NY.

Rodriguez-Oroz, M.C., Obeso, J.A., Lang, A.E. et al., (2005) , Bilateral deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease: a multicentre study with 4 years follow-up. Brain, 128, 2240–2249

Rowley, J. (1999), What is Knowledge Management?, Library Management, Vol 20, No. 8 pp 416 – 419

Rowley, J (2007), The wisdom hierarchy: representations of the DIKW hierarchy,Journal of Information Science April 2007 vol. 33 no. 2 163-180 Available at:]http://jis.sagepub.com/content/33/2/163.short [Cited 31Jan 2014]

Ruse, M. (2012), The Philosophy of Human Evolution, Cambridge University Press, UK.

Senge, P.M. (1990), The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation, Doubleday, New York, NY.

Winkler, K.P. (1996), Editor, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke (1690) , Hackett Publishing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Terra, J. C. and Terezinha A. (2003), Understanding the difference between Information Management and Knowledge Management , TerraForum Consultores, Toronto, ON, Canada, M4L 3S5

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