The Internet Changes the Nature of Knowledge

Dave Weinberger has a new book out, Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room. He discussed it last week on On The Media:

[T]he system of knowledge that we had developed for ourselves is, in many ways, a system of stopping points because the medium of that knowledge was paper and books, and for all of their glory, the links in ‘em don’t work; the footnotes are broken. When you go to click on them, they — you don’t actually get taken to the next book. So books are a very disconnected medium. …

When you have a medium that is unrestricted in how much it can handle, as the Internet is, we are better able to investigate an idea without stopping points, we’re able to get explanations at every level of expertise. …

Our old idea of knowledge was too —restricted. The world is gigantic. We need knowledge that scales as large as the world. We now have an in – infrastructure that lets us do that, but the nature of knowledge changes dramatically, so that it includes difference and disagreement as a part of knowledge itself. It’s something we can all contribute to. It gets better as we do so.