Esko Kilpi on the Knowledge Commons and the new Network Inequality

Excerpted from Esko Kilpi:

“According to simplistic management thinking stimulus and response processes control human behavior: you get what you measure; you get what you reward. This means that people are understood as having no real connection to what they are actually doing.

A somewhat more modern way of thinking states that human beings actively create meaning in life through attempts to understand their own experiences. Intrinsic motivation – peoples’ relation to what they do, the meaning of work – replaces extrinsic rewards. People connect with what they are actually doing.

A new third way of thinking is enfolding. Since we cannot experience everything ourselves, other people become the co-creators of information, experience and meaning. Relations, connecting with others, create a new, networked way of knowing and learning.

As a result, people can now connect both with what they do and with their peers, their network, making them much more knowledgeable than their colleagues who lack these capabilities.

Information is, paradoxically, simultaneously both social and personal, with multiple, variable goals and constantly negotiated premises. Information creators, publishers and curators, are not the traditional verified experts; rather, information is created by a broad collection of reflexive practitioners sharing in the construction and ongoing evolution of a given field.

Information becomes a process of continuous facilitation and networked negotiation. Information networks are a valuable, shared resource making the interactive movement of thought possible.

These networks are the new commons. Sociologists call such shared resources public goods. A private good is one that the owners can exclude others from using. Private has been valuable and public without much value during the era of scarcity economics. This is now changing in a dramatic way, creating the confusion we are in the midst of today.

On the new commons, people with many ties become better informed and have more signaling power, while those outside and with few ties may be left behind. This may be the new digital divide.

Network inequality creates and reinforces inequality of opportunity.

In the age of abundance economics, public is much more valuable than private.”

1 Comment Esko Kilpi on the Knowledge Commons and the new Network Inequality

  1. AvatarNobody

    In The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding, Francisco Varela claims to have “proposed using the term enactive to designate this view of knowledge, to evoke the view that what is known is brought forth, in contraposition to the more classical views of either cognitivism or connectionism.” [Tree of Knowledge pg. 255] Within the book, the analogies of the Razor’s Edge and the Scylla and Charybdis are used to describe the “epistemologic Odyssey” between the notions of solipsism and representationalism. Enactivism, therefore is the middle ground between the two extremes [Tree of Knowledge, pgs. 133,134,253]. Maturana and Varela use this term to “confront the problem of understanding how our existence-the praxis of our living- is coupled to a surrounding world which appears filled with regularities that are at every instant the result of our biological and social histories…. to find a via media: to understand the regularity of the world we are experiencing at every moment, but without any point of reference independent of ourselves that would give certainty to our descriptions and cognitive assertions. Indeed the whole mechanism of generating ourselves, as describers and observers tells us that our world, as the world which we bring forth in our coexistence with others, will always have precisely that mixture of regularity and mutability, that combination of solidity and shifting sand, so typical of human experience when we look at it up close.”

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