Tacit and Explicit Knowledge Reprint Edition, Kindle Edition
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And Collins steps further, he argues that we can not satisfied with the tacit, non-articulated knowledge and stop studying it. The knowledge that we can not tell sometimes is mystified, and ambiguous. Therefore, he proposed three kind of tacit knowledge(relational, somatic and collective), some(the first two) can be transformed to explicit knowledge/form, and some(the last) can not. This thought is well explained in his paper in 2001("What is tacit knowledge"). It also relate to the important issue which is the limit of artificial intelligence. Basically, AI can do the things which all the principles or rules are written down. If all the tacit knowledge can be transformed to explicit knowledge, AI will replace human labor eventually.
I think the book is worth reading, it not only summarizes the author's thoughts but also refines them. He discuss explicit knowledge in detail by using his "string" concept and argues all the knowledge is based on explicit knowledge which is in the reverse side of Michael Polanyi. And the text is plain and clear, it doesn't make too much difficulty for a non-english reader. If you are interested in Tacit knowledge or the debate of AI, don't miss it.
His basic notion is that explicit knowledge is knowledge that can be represented as a string and passed through an intermediary (such as the Internet) without any loss of information. A string is a general term to represent characters, numbers, computer codes etc. The book is a fascinating exploration of the differences between human and artificial intelligence and links together many of the interesting experiments (both thought and actual) that have been published in the last 50 years.
He introduces some very interesting ideas. For example, the degree to which tacit knowledge is required to understand strings, even compose them in the first place.
He revisits Michael Polanyi's discussion on riding bicycles with the notion of somatic tacit knowledge, knowledge that becomes part of our body for the performance of mechanical tasks. He argues that this can be reduced to mechanical instructions, even though these instructions could not reasonably be performed by human in the required timescale. What attracted my attention was a footnote in which he dismisses actor network theory as "the so-called actor network theory has succeeded brilliantly in the academic market place by cleverly failing to acknowledge this obvious asymmetry and claiming that its absence from the theory represents a philosophical insight." I have not yet finished reading Latour's book so I will keep a lookout for this issue.
The asymmetry to which he refers is the notion that a blind man's stick becomes part of a blind man: the man uses the stick as an extension of his own self. However, we cannot say that the blind man has become part of the stick. (Page 114).
In the final chapter he talks about collective tacit knowledge and social Cartesianism, the notion that there is a distinct difference between humans and animals because, he argues, that humans are capable of reorganising their tacit knowledge to fit in with the social patterns of different social setting. Dogs, cats and other animals, he argues, cannot socialise at all. I think that this is the least impressive chapter in the book, in my opinion, because it seems out of touch with recent research, even common sense, that if humans cannot socialise effectively with animals since we cannot speak their language, it says nothing that animals cannot socialise effectively with humans. For example, there is plenty of evidence that whales have a complex social life and language. While I disagree with the detail of the chapter I'm happy with the conclusions that, for example, direct face-to-face human interaction is essential in order to acquire collective tacit knowledge. Where I differ is in his conclusion that teleconferencing will never be a substitute for air travel. Just as human beings are remarkably adaptable, teleconferencing has an enormous potential for improvement with genuine broadband transmission, and while it will never be quite the same as being there in person, has a long way to go in terms of development. I think eventually that he will be proved wrong in this conclusion.