Key Insights on Knowledge Graphs and Human Transcendence

I’ve been thinking a lot about knowledge graphs, largely motivated by my own communication deficits and challenges finding conceptual alignment with people.

Feeling misunderstood, struggling to convey an idea in the time budget allotted, finding new insights that exist and are merely inaccessible, and the profound impacts of technology on our society – This topic has civilization scale impacts on all of us. It’s nothing new; Vannevar Bush clearly articulated this problem of expanding human knowledge and our diminishing capacity to individually comprehend it in 1946, and imagined the Memex.

We’ve come a long way with technology, but in many ways this has only made the problem worse – With fake news, reduced attention spans, and practically unbridled communication bandwidth; In many ways we hear more, and know less than ever before. Vannevar Bush’s Memex is in some sense closer than ever, and also much much further than he had imagined. We have had civilization-scale reckonings to some degree with agriculturalization, industrialization, and nuclearization. We’ve not yet reckoned on a civilization-scale with information technology. It’s coming.

From time to time there are opportunities to shift the course of humanity, and I believe we must seize upon them, and manifest these opportunities. One of these in my view is space travel. The other is transcendence of our individuality to recognize and create a more perfect civilization (with some reeally important caveats about privacy and agency of course.) This all hinges on knowledge. How do we develop it, how to we transfer it, and how to we conjure insights from it? Barring a very unlikely, drastic and rapid diminution of communication bandwidth in the near term (and commensurate return to an agrarian society) our existing systems will prove increasingly feeble and destructive to humanity without some significant and thoughtful revisions.

Suffice to say this topic is important to me. I intend to write much more, and act to the greatest extent of my ability to further such an endeavor, starting with a draft concept I am calling For now, here are some ideations on such a potential organization which could potentially be fundable, and also meaningfully address this civilization scale issue without self-defeat through perverse misalignment of incentives.

Daniel NormanComment