TNC Prototype

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The Tesla and the Nature of Creativity (TNC) Prototype is being developed as a showcase example of knowledge federation.

The question is how to federate a research result. What is described here is an ideal, paper prototype. A real-life federation process which is based on this ideal prototype is currently under way, see Tesla and the Nature of Creativity 2015.



One of the points of this work is to show that IT innovation can – or better said already has expanded to systemic innovation; and how exactly this type of work might be done with available technical tools.

But an even more relevant motivation is that "knowledge work has a flat tire" – i.e. that our situation calls for stopping the business as usual and taking care of systemic issues in knowledge work that may render our best knowledge work efforts futile.


Use case

Dejan Raković is a quantum physicist and professor at the University of Belgrade. In his research, Professor Raković reached an insight that has potential to shift paradigms in disciplines distant from his own, and in general culture. Although he has already authored more than 200 research articles and 35 books, Raković realizes that conventional publishing will not do; if his result should have the sort of impact it can and needs to have, it will need to be federated.

For us in Knowledge Federation Raković`s idea plays the role of potentially "an idea worth spreading," ie. as a placeholder for any such idea; the idea could have been just as well about the climate change, or about global economy. We want to use this idea to build around it a system for verifying and spreadingany such idea, but bear with us: This is only our first step. In it, to use our legal metaphor, we will have to be both the judges and the lawyers; we will both present Raković`s work and build a system by which it may be tested. In a final solution, of course, those roles will be more carefully designed and divided. Help us do that, by providing comments.


Transforming a research article into an accessible multimedia object

The substance of Raković`s article – his model of direct creativity – is written in the language of quantum physics, and is therefore not accessible to non-specialist readers. The first step in federation was to extract from Raković`s article, and his other articles and experience, a simple visual model of how direct creativity works and how it might be controlled and used – expressed in conventional, rather than quantum-physics metaphors. The second step was to extract from this model certain general key ideas – a general idea contribution of this work (those will be worked on further in the further steps, as explained below.)

A result of this initial phase of federation was to show how a conventional research article may be turned into a multimedia object, with idea maps, recorded interviews with the author providing additional explanation, navigation structure, text annotations... by using available technololgy (we are making steps towards 'World of Warcraft-style' academic communication, i.e. towards the use of contemporary media!). Once the socio-technical system for presenting academic information has been designed and tested in this way, suitable information technology may be developed by IT industry.


Presenting, connecting and crowdsourcing ideas online

In the second phase of federation certain ideas are selected from the article, along with their relationships, and made available online, by using the Cohere platform.

Here we show a procedure (to be performed by a community of interest or the global community) by which

  • ideas are freed from the codex of a discipline and made available online
  • ideas are interlinked with other related ideas, and with supporting or contradicting resources
  • questions and critical concerns are linked with ideas to solicit further details from the author or the community
  • key general insights or gestalts are distilled from interlinked ideas
  • ideas and "gestalts" are submitted to a democratic deliberation process online, and allowed to either acquire or lose credibility, and to eventually become community views;
  • gestalts and related insights and documents are brought to the attention of specific communities of interest to which they might be relevant
  • gestalts an related insights and documents are made available to journalists, and to general public.


Changing the public mind through a dialog

A goal of this final stage of federation is to bring the key, transformative ideas to public awareness. To that end, we create a dialog including community's opinion leaders and media people. The dialog begins in physical space and continues on Internet and in the media. Our physical dialog aims to further develop David Bohm's dialogue technique by combining it with a therapeutic strategy called 'intervention.'



Coming back to the insight "knowledge work has a flat tire" which we named as motivation, we can now see contours of a remedial procedure – one capable of combining together researchers, and general public, to organize relevant resources together and produce a reliable worldview-changing or direction-changing insight or gestalt.

The point here is, however, not that we have a solution, but to foster a social process capable of producing solutions of this kind – and improving them indefinitely – which is what Knowledge Federation really is.

What has been shown above is a procedure (a variant of 'knowledge federation') that complements conventional article publishing, and the conventional focus on knowledge production in general, by

  • translating the models, ideas and insights from an academic specialization into general, accessible language
  • making ideas accessible online, linking them with related ideas and resources, and further annotating, evaluating...
  • evolving general insights or 'gestalts'
  • making those insights known to the communities that may need them
  • making key insights and accompanying media material available to journalists and to general public
  • bringing transformative ideas into media and public awareness through a dialog

A question that remains is – how will such procedures be brough into actual practice? And by whom?

An intention behind developing this prototype is to show that this is already being done.

While our children use sophisticated animated tools to collaborate online and in real time with friends worldwide - while playing World of Warcraft - we serious knowledge workers still work alone or in small teams, write old-fashioned articles and publish them in old-fashioned books and magazines, which will be placed on a book shelf. This situation obviously won't last. Our vision is a global knowledge-work game-like environment, a true global mind. But how will this new collective mind be developed? And by whom? Obviously, no game design company can design 'the academic game' or 'the public informing game.'

A goal of Knowledge Federation is to evolve a general-purpose systemic 'game-changing game,' that is, an environment where habitual ways of doing knowledge work, and perhaps habitual ways of doing any other kind of work, can be changed in a meaningful way.

See Introducing Knowledge Federation where it is explained in which way exactly Knowledge Federation is putting the above plan into practice.

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