Intro -- Jeff Kenyon LO11558 (and a comment on the Borg)

Jeff Kenyon (
Tue, 24 Dec 1996 10:31:44 -0700 (MST)

Replying to LO11533 --

Just wanted to introduce name is Jeff Kenyon, and my interest
is in the area of knowledge management (theory, techniques, getting
management interested, getting them to fund efforts, what happens if you
ignore knowledge management, etc.).

I just subscribed two days ago. I probably would have just lurked for a
while, but I read Ben's message on Star Trek and the Borg (LO11533), and
the various followups, and felt compelled to comment.

My first thought was that, if the Borg did suddenly show up, some of the
individuals in that social outing (the ones who brought laptops, ham
radios, etc.) might not think assimilation was such a bad thing. No more
lugging around those pesky peripheral devices...

My next thought was, how much of the gear was truly necessary? Obviously,
there are those who need to maintain a link to another committment (e.g.,
on-call physicians), but what Ben described seemed like life style choice,
carried to an extreme. Technology as ostentation, or as fashion
accessory. What percentage of pagers or cellular phones are purchased,
not out of need, but because they're "neat" or because everyone else in
one's social circle has them? What jump in functionality does a PDA offer
that a pocket notebook lacks? Are technical toys carried out of any real
need, or only a conscious (or unconscious) need to send the message "Look,
I'm indispensible" or "Look, I'm wired"? Obviously, bringing along all
the gear did some damage to the social interaction...was there any
corresponding benefit (besides Ben's thinking about it and posting his
message :-)?

> Are our organizations evolving as quickly as technology? Are our
> values evolving at or near the same rate? What happens if technology
> evolves faster than our values, institutions, economic theories, and
> social structures? Will technology cause a type of social implosion,
> creating large-scale economic disruptions and unnecessary warfare?

What we value is what will win out. If technology (new or old) offers
sufficient value, institutions, economic theories, and social structures
will struggle, but adapt. We're already seeing that with regard to one
manifestation of technology, the Internet itself; it's causing a lot of
discussion over the economics of information, and affecting the legal
systems of all the countries it touches (i.e., with regard to libel,
copyright, etc.). And it's obviously had quite an impact on social
structures. For those of you who prefer an example with a bit more
history, I'm sure all of this also held true when the printing press first
arrived on the scene.

Technology will always be ahead of values, institutions, etc. I think
that's inevitable. But I don't see that implying that technology will
spin us out of control. Only that technological forces will exert a
certain amount of influence over the direction in which we choose to


Jeff Kenyon (, Member of Technical Staff
Knowledge Base Engineering, U S WEST Communications

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>