Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Representing knowledge in its many forms

To start with I need to clarify for myself and for anyone else interested what both the broad goal and the specific starting goal are. It will be key for me to find my own unique way to do very deliberate work towards developing the concept.

I say very deliberate, because in many respects the project is already under way. The advances in information storing, sorting, and relaying over the Internet have already spawned several generations of "intelligence". In fact Weblogs (Blog for short) like this one capitalize on many of the new technologies developed to make information more dynamic and useful.

Nova Spivack's Blog has been fairly stimulating to me, but may not appeal to everyone interested in what I want start with. I hope to draw upon my System Dynamics experience, which I majored in at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

The broad goal is to use System Dynamics and other concepts and technologies for managing complexity to create the initial access layers of a system that is capable of presenting the growing collective knowledge in the world in a manner that is consistent and understandable to anyone.

What will make this system so unique is that it will learn to teach each individual accessing it in the manner that is best for them. What I think is one of the key failures in todays information exchanges is that there is very limited access between different professions, generations, and cultures.

For example, a child has a general idea about math that can at least provide a basis for understanding increases or decreases in the world around them. Yet if he were presented with a calculus equation or even description of one, he would be utterly lost. In fact, many adults would still be utterly lost, but this does not mean that they are incapable of understanding the function. Rather, if the function were expressed differently, say in the form of a chart, graph, or animation, they could understand at least the concept it is representing.

I believe that System Dynamics can help in this respect by aiding in the development of both a model structure for organizing the information as well as a model that adapts itself to individual learning styles. Some adaptive learning work is also already being done. Most recently I came across Ms. Lindquist, an online tutoring system that adapts to individual progress, providing feedback that is more than just the solution to the problem.

The more I search, the more I find. It seems to me that the required technology is already well under way. I just have to find a place where I fit in.

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