440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700

Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 10:16:53 -0700

04 00067 61 01101001

Mr. Unfinished Revolution
OHS DKR Project
SRI International
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Subject:   What Now - Intelligence?
Turning Water into Wine and Straw into Gold

Jack Park's letter today proposes a discussion on "intelligence," from a military perspective, flowing from terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 that exposed weaknesses in ability to perform analysis that "connects the dots" to enable proactive action.

According to national security experts reviewed on August 15, 1998, there is plenty of information, but not enough "knowledge" to take effective action for avoiding terrorist attacks.

This implies an important point about the character of knowledge that stumps developers in creating useful technology. Knowledge is a bridge between information and action, i.e., doing things. We get information, but we need knowledge to act. How do we turn straw into gold by turning information to knowledge?

This has equal application to education, which Jack Park is addressing with Nexist, and in the business community where Doug Engelbart proposes better handling of daily working information.

Educators, students, military leaders, business leaders, engineers, all of us, wrestle with handling daily working information by adding intelligence to create useful knowledge for taking timely, effective action.

On 000120 the OHS/DKR team considered defining knowledge for building stronger "intelligence" capability called out in Jack's letter today.....

On March 7, 2000 Doug Engelbart requested work on defining "knowledge."

This was still pending on April 7, 2000 when ideas were requested to guide work on creating an OHS/DKR.

On May 3, 2000 Jack Park encouraged the team to take up this pending issue on developing knowledge capability.

Breach of national security On September 11, 2001 reminded again that critical discussion is still pending to define "intelligence" differentiating information from knowledge for learning in school, and for continual learning that enables proactive problem handling on the job, and standing watch in the military.

As noted recently on October 6, we ignore fundamentals only at great peril, because, like the fabled dialog between the squirrel and the cricket, ignorance, fear and denial of problems escalates into loss, conflict, crisis and calamity.

Thanks to Jack for another timely reminder in his letter today urging consideration of "intelligence."




Rod Welch

Copy to:

  1. Armstrong-IBM, Ross,
  2. Harrow, Stuart, SHarrow@DCMDE.DCMA.MIL
  3. Engelbart, Douglas C.,

Jack Park wrote:

An excerpt:

The ever-counterintuitive Kevin Kelly, during a telephone conversation, explained to me his idea that this is not a hi-tech war at all but that the entire operation was low-tech (plastic knives, box cutters, etc.). No spy satellites for these guys, and no possibility than an $80 billion expenditure on a star wars defense would have had any deterrent effect whatsoever.

I wrote the following to the list: "I believe that the Edge community can mount a serious conversation about the catastrophic events of the past week that might do some good. Within the community is invaluable expertise in many pertinent areas, not to mention the intelligence that the "Edgies" can bring to the subjects. I am interested "hard-edge" comments, derived from empirical results or experience specific to the expertise of the participant. Edge is not the proper venue for people to vent their justified rage at the acts of terrorism, displeasure with the administration, U.S. Mid-East policies, etc. But it is the right venue for an informed, intelligent commentary."

"So how about a new Edge question: WHAT NOW?"