Re: Emergent Learning LO2257

Grant B. Harris (
27 Jul 95 11:17:05 EDT

Replying to LO2051 --

In response (belatedly) to Carol Anne's comments on knowledge and

I don't think that "*knowledge* gleaned from a database" is a
counter-example, at least the way I interpret 'to glean'. Knowledge in a
person's mind is certainly gleaned from information. This doesn't lead me
to conclude that a database therefore contains knowledge.

I suppose this is really a semantic arguement. The point of my arguement
is that I think it is valuable not to confuse a human with a
database/expert system/etc. By attributing 'knowledge' to a stack of data
and an algorithm obscures that fact that it is really a model based on
someone (or a bunch of people's) design.

You indeed ask an interesting question when you say "the 'knowledgable'
expert produces knowledge on demand, what if that expert is in a machine?
Do we now call it mere 'information?'" I guess I'd call it information
and a clever algorithm. But what I really want to know is whether the
ostensibly 'knowledgable thing' on the other end of the line is a human or
a machine. I'll have certain expectations of a human and certain
expectations of a machine.

Knowledge to me implies some level of 'understanding' in a human sense,
and I rebel at anthropomophosizing of computer programs.

-- Grant B. Harris
Workframe, Inc.
Cambridge, Massachusetts