Friday, 29 June 2012

Norton Rose join KIN

I had the pleasure of facilitating a KIN induction meeting for Norton Rose this week. Norton Rose, one of the world's leading law firms, and certainly one of the most innovative are the latest member to join, along with the charity Tear Fund.

I was impressed with the insights and enthusiasm of the individuals that Sam Dimond, the KIN key contact, had assembled. They are going to make an excellent contributor to the network and will undoubtedly benefit too. Whilst Norton Rose participate in all sorts of legal networks, KIN will add a new dimension from the diversity of organisations they will have access to.

On my way out of their offices (the views across the City of London from their 12th floor are fabulous), I noticed that their conference centre was right on-message for knowledge sharing...

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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Julia Hobsbawn 'Professor of Networking'

Julia Hobsbawn featured on the BBC's Today programme on 27th June on the occasion of her inaugural lecture as Professor of Networking at Cass Business School.
Interviewed by Sarah Montague, she discussed that networking was not just about developing contacts, but the exchange and sharing of knowledge. Hobsbawn is arguing for a return to 'salon culture', such as was the origin of the coffee houses in London in 18th century. Indeed she has had discussions with McDonalds and the coffee chains to encourage this concept. 
The interview is available via the BBC 'Listen Again' facility until 3rd July 2012. Look for the Today Programme, Weds 27th June at 08:18. 

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Friday, 8 June 2012

Knowledge Engines or Smart Information?

Back in 2009, KIN took a look at the new kid on the search block, Wolfram Alpha. Back then, my conclusion was that this super-smart 'answer engine' held fantastic promise, but 'wasn't quite ready yet'. It has now been revealed that Wolfram Alpha is actually the engine behind Apple's smartphone assistant SIRI. Wolfram Alpha has come of age.

Stand by for a new clutch of Google and Bing search products that they claim will go way beyond providing links to web pages. Google's 'Knowledge Graph' already provides facts and services that anticipate what the user is trying to find out by interpreting the everyday language used. Google's Shashidhar Thakur says they can 'go beyond returning pages and return knowledge'. Clearly Google and Microsoft are making use of Open Linked Data behind the scenes to help make the semantic connections.

We can waste many unproductive hours debating the difference between information and knowledge. However when Google can provide know-how, answers based on expertise and nuanced insight, will be when it can truly claim to be providing knowledge, rather than what I think is 'information in context'. Providing knowledge will undoubtedly come, but Google's knowledge graph 'isn't quite ready yet'.

In the meantime, Quora seems to be bridging the answer engine gap by connecting people with questions with people with answers.

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