Knowledge is Overrated*

Continuation from the Data is Overrated* blog post I wanted to point out something that might shock SOME people.

Knowledge is overrated*

Wait a second, Niko! Did you just write something that … that is pointing that Knowledge is somehow overrated!? How dare you! You are out of your mind! This is a major Data Blasphemy!

I dare because I care (please read it with the voice of Monsters Inc. “We scare because we care” advertisement).
Regarding the “Data Blasphemy”, you know my opinion if you looked for the first article – Data is Overrated*. :)

If you have not abandoned reading and reached the blog post so far, then please,
allow me to present a couple of points on this matter.

Knowledge is good.
Knowledge is wonderful.
But knowing stuff is not enough.

People have the knowledge that they should be fair … but we are not.
People have the knowledge they should treat well other living beings – but we are not.
People know very well, they they should be treating other human beings well – but this is not exactly what I have seen around in my life, too many times. Unfortunately.

Knowledge is temporal. It has a timestamp associated with it. Almost every knowledge has an explicit expiry date.
One thousand years ago, we (as in humans) knew that the Earth was flat.
150 years ago people knew that it was impossible to fly.
We know(?) that we (creatures of the Earth) are the only live beings in the solar system.
We know the layout of the streets and houses where we have lived as children.
Imagine what we can discover tomorrow! Starting that the houses and streets have been rebuilt :)
But there is so much that we do not and DID NOT know. And will never know.

Somebody better start updating the knowledge we have learned in the school – cause a lot of people are seriously stuck with the world-view of 16 years old, that was actually given to them by the people who stopped getting knowledge when they themselves were 16 years old … and so on – you can already imagine the rest.

The only constant in the nature is called CHANGE.
And CHANGE makes a lot of your knowledge obsolete. :)

I believe that there are different types of Knowledge – Short-Term & Long-Term.
Short-Term Knowledge are the little things that will become obsolete and irrelevant in a very short period of time.
Long-Term Knowledge is something that has potential of lasting through decades or potentially go over the lifetime of a human being.

Thinking about the technological areas – how long those New Exciting Feature will last ? In how many years (if not months) will it become obsolete and substituted by the new shiny marketing term ?
That shiny SQL Server 2019 that was launched this month will become second best product in a couple of years and less & less people will get excited anymore by the “What’s New in it”.

Presentations that are focused on distributing basic Short-Term Knowledge … the basic, ephemeral kind of knowledge that brings very limited value with it. Declaring this kind of knowledge as the goal seems to be a disservice to our society.

In technology we need to focus on the long-term or at least Longer-Term knowledge that will support us through our professional lives – algorithms, distributed systems, security principles, performance tuning, analytics – things that will stick with us in better and in not-so-good times, no matter how market shall change.

Knowledge is by far not the end of the journey. Knowledge is where the things will start getting interesting. It is like when you just landed at the airport of your destination – you are not considering going back right away, right ?

The continuation of the original formula started in Data is Overrated*/a> is

Knowledge* < Insight < Wisdom

where from the Knowledge we can get some important insights on how this affect surroundings, other and us, and from that we can potentially gain the so much needed and so less advertised wisdom.

Oh and about that asterisk (*) – of course without the knowledge we can’t get to the Insight & Wisdom, but the current promotion of the knowledge is alarmingly focused on it as if it would be the final destination, and it not.
Given the different types of knowledge – Short Term & Long-Term, one must be very careful of what is being served.

Wisdom should be the destination, and it should drive the data, the information, the knowledge and the insights forward toward itself.

When visiting a new place on your journey, the idea (at least to me) is not only to get the arrive there, not to see the nature/architecture, not only to get to know the people and their customs. It is not just getting and understanding/insights of how things are built, it is about getting to the why they were built in the first place and if knowing what we know know – would the decisions of the past would be repeated or not.
It is about how to connect the dots to bring the good stuff into the life of our society and the people we love.

I will finish this blogpost with a hugely important phrase attributed to one of the most important philosophers – Lao Zi: “To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.”

Have a great journey:
Data -> Information -> Knowledge -> Insight -> Wisdom

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