Early in the last century, a Polish engineer and philosopher, Alfred Korzybski, noted that to resolve the issues of policy and governance, "workers of the future" would need to find a way to rationally combine meaning with knowledge. He acknowledged in 1933 that no one then knew how. From our perspective it is important to add that such a solution needs to be readily adaptable to computer use. We are proud to announce that such a thing exists. It is a model, based on tree structures, to organize and computerize all forms of active knowledge such that they can be easily used by means of computing devices. The model is deceptively simple -- based on five concepts that are as basic as they are enlightening.
Using this model, experts and authorities can lay out functionality that represents not only 'trees,' but 'forests' of processes and requirements. They can do this in ways that reflect detail and nuance, and can be responsive to streams of data and changing preferences and requirements of people. This allows for expansion of one's knowledge from tacit and explicit forms of documentation to active processes that bring facts together with knowhow. This allows communities of knowledge and practice to collaborate with authorities and societal leaders to extend their knowledge and capabilities to the public at large, making technology more useful and support the legitimacy of organizations and social networks.
Contrary to popular belief among artificial intelligence enthusiasts, people as a rule enjoy thinking. Not all, but many. Furthermore, there is evidence, rather substantial in fact, that many are good at it. This is an individual endeavor, of course, but with group implications. Some of these are permanent, others variable. The fluidity opportunity is a boon to such endeavors. Coupled with technology, it can enable individuals and organizations to function at an unprecedented levels, particularly where time and complexity are factors.
For example, in health, there are many options and requirements to keep in mind that can be considered by many, each in areas of knowledge and experience, but beyond the capacity of people when needed. The United States Library of Medicine oversees definitions in medicine, pharmaceuticals, and laboratory testing that are real, but daunting. The SNOMED CT medical classification includes 311,000 items, the RxNorm pharmaceutical concepts are 221,000 strong, and the LOINC laboratory testing classification is made up of 86,000 items. There are similarly about 123,000 mappings from SNOMED CT to the International Classifications of Disease 10 (ICD 10) classifications that are used worldwide.
Imagine a provider trying to sort complexity of this kind in an instant. Assuming they amount to something, each concept could carry some weight -- meaningful in lifestyle, diagnosis, treatment, and in other ways. For anyone caring to know, the classifications, relationships among them, convey 7.5 x 1020 options. This is to say that it is impossible for a person or group to come up with optimal -- if not resonable -- solutions in a moment, or even a reasonably short period.
We have written about this challenge, a book called Our Century in English and in Chinese. We refer to the phenomenon as "building a bridge to somewhere good." This is the promise of fluidity, by building such a "bridge" in advance, there is some chance that it will prove effective when matched with data made available for such a purpose.