The Democratization of Knowledge

Found through Boing Boing as usual. Again, is it just me or is this *the* theme of the moment.

Who Says We Know: On the new Politics of Knowledge – by Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia. Quote:

Professionals are no longer needed for the bare purpose of the mass distribution of information and the shaping of opinion. The hegemony of the professional in determining our background knowledge is disappearing—a deeply profound truth that not everyone has fully absorbed.

The votaries of Web 2.0, and especially the devout defenders of Wikipedia, know this truth very well indeed. In their view, Wikipedia represents the democratization of knowledge itself, on a global scale, something possible for the first time in human history. Wikipedia allows everyone equal authority in stating what is known about any given topic. Their new politics of knowledge is deeply, passionately egalitarian.

I was recently commenting to my boss that the days of so-called experts who make themselves relevant by creating powerpoint slides and layers of abstraction are numbered. Why? Because with the technology you have nowadays, you can have all the information you need by say just doing a Google search on your handheld. Suppose you were in a discussion with some “expert” and you wanted to argue a point. The playing field is a lot different nowadays.

Interestingly Stephen Colbert’s take on “Wikiality” is mentioned in passing. Heh. I used to watch the Daily Show a couple of years back and am a big fan of both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and I have to say that Stephen Colbert is the Greatest Living American.

Find out why.


3 Responses to The Democratization of Knowledge

  1. madhugr says:

    Then does it make analyst firms like Gartner and Forrester redundant? Probably.

    The views of different bloggers (which contain a lot of technical experts) is unbiased and offer opinions on both sides of the coins. This is anyday better than websites that publish content that is sponsored by IBM or a Microsoft

  2. Peter Thomas says:


    Totally agree and in fact I had this thought in mind when I made this post. IMHO the actual experiences and opinions of people who are actually using technology would be more relevant than say what you would get from some analyst source. Although analyst firms have a role in aggregating information and packaging it for CXO-level consumption, I think that they will not be able to match what the internet can do at some point.

  3. It’s fascinating reading this post from the vantage point of my interest in health and healing and see how the democratization of knowledge applies to my areas of concern. It certainly applies to every area of life. The role of “experts” is shrinking in its scope!

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