Head-on car crash in rural South Dakota in 1932. Eighty per cent of drivers rate themselves as above average. Photo courtesy Wikipedia
Sure, it’s typical for people to overestimate their abilities. One study found that 80 per cent of drivers rate themselves as above average – a statistical impossibility. And similar trends have been found when people rate their relative popularity and cognitive abilities. The problem is that when people are incompetent, not only do they reach wrong conclusions and make unfortunate choices but, also, they are robbed of the ability to realise their mistakes. In a semester-long study of college students, good students could better predict their performance on future exams given feedback about their scores and relative percentile. However, the poorest performers showed no recognition, despite clear and repeated feedback that they were doing badly. Instead of being confused, perplexed or thoughtful about their erroneous ways, incompetent people insist that their ways are correct. As Charles Darwin wrote in The Descent of Man (1871): ‘Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.’

What know-it-alls don’t know, or the illusion of competence by Kate Fehlhaber, Aeon Magazine, 17 May 2017

watch READ ponder discuss extra

You don't have to read these unless you wish to, but we might touch upon them in conversation

The Rijksmuseum library, from The Guardian
What really sets human beings apart is not our individual mental capacity. The secret to our success is our ability to jointly pursue complex goals by dividing cognitive labor ... Each of us knows only a little bit, but together we can achieve remarkable feats. Knowledge isn’t in my head or in your head. It’s shared.
  1. Why We Believe Obvious Untruths by By Philip Fernbach and Steven Sloman in The New York Times, 03 March 2017

... it is still important to emphasize that data, information, and knowledge are not interchangeable concepts. Organizational success and failure can often depend on knowing which of them you need, which you have, and what you can and can't do with each. Understanding what those three things are and how you get from one to another is essential to doing knowledge work successfully.
  1. Chapter 1: What Do We Talk about When We Talk about Knowledge?
    in Davenport, T. H., & Prusak, L. (2000). Working knowledge: How organizations manage what they know. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.

An organization processes information in order to reduce uncertainty and to resolve equivocality in the informational inputs. Its information processing requirements are determined by the task technology, environment, and organizational structure. Information is acquired and processed by the individual members. In acquiring information they exercise their own preferences as well as the biases that are formed as a result of their belonging in the organization. They selectively process information within the bounds of their cognitive limitations.
  1. Section 2: Towards an information model of organizations
    in Choo, Chun Wei. 1991. Towards an Information Model of Organizations. The Canadian Journal of Information Science 16 (3):32-62.

watch read PONDER discuss extra

things we'll talk about

  • how do we define knowledge
  • how do we decide what qualifies as knowledge
  • how do we use and interact with knowledge within an organization
slides for session 03

watch read ponder DISCUSS extra

something to take away

Stand Up

Hindi Zahra and a comment about her in, as well as something about the Dakhla Music Festival.

Hindi Zahra is sounding like the musical child of Django Rheinhardt and Billie Holiday, the Paris-based Hindi is a captivating musician. Her song "Beautiful Tango" is a revelation - simple yet sophisticated, sparse yet emotive. It's fresh even while it reverberates with history. This style continues in "Oursoul" and "Try." A touch of hip-hop and soul influence, retaining the simple, downbeat understatement of her other songs while adding an almost ethereal quality.
Somewhere between her Moroccan roots and her life in Paris, singer-songwriter Hindi Zahra lost track of her many musical influences: the result is a mesmerizing elemental folk, a desert blues with african/american music.

watch read ponder discuss EXTRA