Team 5 Keywords

Knowledge:

Knowledge has numerous theories to its meaning. In western cultures, knowledge implies ideas, skills, intelligence, facts, truth, and absolute truth. Knowledge is advertised with the ability to open doors. It is a commodity that can equate money. If you have an education, it is implied that you have immense knowledge and the ability to gain immense profit. Knowledge means manipulation of one's environment. Knowledge equals power, exclusivity, and authority.

Today, the Internet represents society's knowledge base and provides free information to the masses. We no longer pay for knowledge but take it and store it in technology that gives it away for free. As a result, knowledge is no longer privileged but expected. The Internet changes knowledge's ability to gain authority and provides a world were you can question and challenge authority. The idea that knowledge equals absolute truth has changed. The belief that knowledge is original and unique has changed with the web.

Furthermore, Weinberger points out that those who believe the Internet would bring knowledge to the masses did not foresee the "echo chambers" and the user's tendencies to gather like-minded peers and ideas (91). The idea that boundless knowledge is at your fingertip, when in regards to the Internet, may not be completely true when given the free choice to seek it. The meaning of knowledge, in regards to the Internet, has changed to "echo chambers", distracting, overwhelming, and just too much information (Weinberger, 91). Knowledge has surpassed books and changed into the thousands of ideas and voices of many, instead of one. Knowledge has transformed into the "wisdom of the crowds" (Collier). The "traditional ideal of a knowledgeable person: open-minded, fact-oriented, and eager to explore other perspectives," has shifted and now we trust the Internet more than we do ourselves or other individuals (Weinberger, 83). Knowledge no longer implies education but the ability to use technology that stores and uses the world's knowledge via the Internet.


Diversity:

“Well I could be wrong, but I believe Diversity is an old, old wooden ship, that was used in the Civil War era.” –Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy in Anchorman

To the rest of us, however, diversity means variation, difference, or dissimilarity in kind, form, or character. Ideally, diversity would create what Weinberger calls a “marketplace of ideas” in which knowledge grows and spreads. With the endless diversity of information now provided by the internet, Weinberger believes that, “We find ourselves tremendously confused about the value of this new diversity,” (70). Radical minority opinions held by even just one person can be presented with equal weight to an opposing fact or opinion. We have to teach ourselves to sift through diverse information to get at the most relevant.

Weinberger argues that, “First, there is a right degree of diversity,” and “Second, what counts as the right degree of diversity is highly context dependent,” (73). While Ron Burgundy may be a fantastic fictional newscaster and add diversity to a group of sources, his opinions and beliefs on intellectual or specialized subjects are not actually useful. Drawing the line between productive diversity and outlying perspectives is not an easy task. Weinberger offers the following steps to “scope diversity appropriately,” (73):

1. Not all diversity is equal therefore, “Getting a group of people who are diverse in their shoe sizes wouldn’t help much,” (74)
2. Have just enough in common because, “Too much commonality leads to groupthink. Too much commonality leads to wheel-spinning or committees that compromise toward mediocrity,” (77)
3. Mix well by hand
“How much diversity is ‘just enough’ depends on the people, the topic, the purpose, the social bonds—on everything,” (79)
4. Fork it over because, “Forking [diverging threads of conversation in a group] enables a group to find its own level of diversity,” (81)