Each of us fortunate enough to have a few thousand dollars to spare has, at our fingertips, the power available only to multinationals for millions of dollars only 40 years ago. One way to realise this power is to use multimedia to create a conceptual self-portrait, a sort of expert system of oneself. The Siliclone - that is, a silicon clone of oneself - is a primitive prototype. It can be represented as a HyperCard-based filing cabinet of one's favourite quotes, anecdotes, images, sources, and so on [see Figure 5]. Person-machine synergy can be explored as the appropriate division of labour between your natural intelligence and the artificial intelligence in this satellite brain, or, more precisely in my case, between Scot and Siliclone. As in any partnership, the division of labour is based on the competences of each partner.
One view of the division of labour is that Siliclone deals with content, setting Scot free to deal with context. That is, data is placed in context to yield information, information in context to yield knowledge, knowledge in context to yield understanding, understanding in context to yield - God forbid - wisdom. This is how value will be added to raw data to generate wealth in our information society. This data-wisdom hierarchy is not as clear as it seemed then. Wisdom is more of an inside-out process, based on the unfolding of the human potential in the zygote from the inside out rather than on the contextualisation of data from the outside in.
A second view is in terms of clutter and complexity. Information overload is often described as the basic problem of the post-industrial society. In the industrial society, we had too little energy; in the post-industrial society, we have too much information. However, this is like surveying a huge sm–rg”sbord and complaining about overload because we can not eat it all. In our outside-in education, in which being educated is viewed as stuffing oneself full of facts, we are overwhelmed by the fact that we could not even assimilate the contents of our local library in our lifetime. The inside-out teacher, who views education as growing from the inside out, welcomes our enriched environment. One of the few conclusions we psychologists have reached is that so-called stupid people grow up in impoverished environments and so-called smart people grow up in enriched environments. Beneath the pseudo-problem of information overload, however, there lurks a real problem of management of complexity. Our enriched objective world enables us to build a subtle, sophisticated subjective map of it. However, true complexity must be distinguished from mere clutter. The siliclone can be viewed as a means of removing the clutter of content so that one can see more clearly.
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