08 July 2012

Too Big to Know; David Weinberger

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the RoomToo Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was less a new book and more a book-length response to Nicholas Carr's "Is Google Making Us Stupid?", and, as with New and Quiet, this book could easily have been half the length. The author talks at length about how research used to be done, how research used to be reported, how newspapers used to be the "record", etc. and how now, in the Internet age, thanks to the ease of crowdsourcing and self-publishing, those traditional "experts with official imprimatur" are now losing ground to the general public and nontraditional experts.

The theses are interesting, but several of the chapters went on far too long. For example, "Too Much Science" could have been halved and would have been far more effective. More on how we can create new 'metadata' that identifies experts, more on how the wisdom of the crowd can be used to increase our knowledge, and how we can better filter out the noise would have been very helpful. Leaving the world of science and looking more at reporting (for example, using 'nonexperts' to prove or disprove stories) would also have been interesting.

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