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The Road Ahead for Knowledge Management – An AI Perspective

Payal Prabhu

Assignment 15

Due: April 1st, 2002

  1. What did you find interesting about the article?

    I enjoyed reading this article since my field of research comes under the broad heading of "AI". By talking about new AI technology that would (and does) help in the field of knowledge management, this article broached the important issue of making our society "truly informed".

  2. What did you find not interesting about the article?

    I liked the article overall and could not find anything particularly disturbing in it.

  3. What do you consider the main message of the article?

    The main point of this article was to point out that knowledge management is an essential part of society. By addressing the role played by AI in the whole process of knowledge management: how AI technologies have so-far helped in the process, and subsequently integrating these with non-AI technologies, this article drives home the need for better knowledge management technologies.

  4. What are the strengths and weaknesses of knowledge management?

    • Strengths: Reuse of previous knowledge to save on time and effort, sharing of information to exploit symmetry of ignorance, increased higher levels of productivity

    • Weaknesses: Getting people/employees to use such technologies actively requires a high level of motivation and forming such a highly motivated community could be a daunting task. Additionally, keeping such databases up-to-date constantly (so that information that is no longer valid is not reused) also sounds like a painful task.

  5. How would you differentiate between "pull" and "push" approaches in knowledge management? What are the trade-offs between the two approaches? In which situations would you use one or the other approach?

    • Pull technologies: These technologies are often geared for more-experienced users where the user knows what s/he wants and is able to demand it of the system. These require the user to often move away from the focus away from the current job and actively search for information from an auxiliary database.

    • Push technologies: These technologies are sometimes geared for novice ("dummy") users where the system finds relevant information for the user without an active request from the user and presents it to him/her for use in the current job.

    Pull technologies should be used only when developers know that the users are proficient enough to know where to "pull" the information from and what kind of information can be "pulled" from the database. Without this information available to the user easily, pull technologies can often fail.

    Push technologies can be very handy for users where the system recommends solutions from time-to-time depending on the context of the current job. However, levels of relevancy and levels of intrusiveness have to be very carefully decided upon so that information is not totally useless and not pushed on to the user too aggressively.

  6. Please discuss why and how the two following quotes are (or are not) relevant for knowledge management:

    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." (George Santayana)

    This is a good quote to show that people need to learn from their past (as well as from other people's past) so that: mistakes are not repeated, and good answers/ideas are reused. Knowledge management helps keep track of good and bad ideas/solutions so that this learning/remembering the past is made easy.

    "Innovation is everywhere; the difficulty is learning from it" (John Seeley Brown)

    There can be two aspects to this quote. First, "learning" has to be motivated. Knowledge databases could be built galore but if the users are not willing to refer to the database and learn from it effectively, there is no use for such technologies. Second, consolidating information/knowledge from different experiences can be a problem. Integrating different knowledge bases from varying sites can often be too much of a hassle for people to bother with.

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