The future of human benefit knowledge: Notes on a World Brain for the 21st century

The future of human benefit knowledge: Notes on a World Brain for the 21st century In the late 1930s, H.G. Wells proposed an “adequate knowledge organization” or World Brain, where ideas would be received, sorted, summarized, clarified, and compared. At the same time, sociologist Robert Lynd questioned ever more “bricks of data” on the growing pile of social science, and called for more synthesis and long-range thinking. Despite proclamations about emerging “knowledge societies,” little has been done to organize the broad and messy realm of human benefit knowledge that encompasses the overlapping policy, planning, futures, and leadership “communities.” The problem of the narrow brickmaker mentality still persists, along with more infoglut, more rapid obsolescence, more fragmentation, more label profusion, and even more nationalistic division. A World Brain for the 21st century should have at least seven features: timely abstracts of key books/reports/articles in several languages, comprehensive coverage, identification of not-yet-published books in the publisher's pipeline, regional and national nodes for collection and dissemination, overviews of sectoral and cross-sectoral issues, user-friendly features, and ample publicity. An appreciative environment must also be built, encompassing more and better technology assessment, ongoing “Top Ten” booklists for each sector and issue, annual prioritizing of issues, integrative research units at universities, more effort to promote civic education, more debates, more attention to good information design, and a higher status for high-quality human benefit thinking. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Futures Elsevier

The future of human benefit knowledge: Notes on a World Brain for the 21st century

Futures, Volume 39 (8) – Oct 1, 2007

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0016-3287
eISSN
1873-6378
DOI
10.1016/j.futures.2007.03.005
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the late 1930s, H.G. Wells proposed an “adequate knowledge organization” or World Brain, where ideas would be received, sorted, summarized, clarified, and compared. At the same time, sociologist Robert Lynd questioned ever more “bricks of data” on the growing pile of social science, and called for more synthesis and long-range thinking. Despite proclamations about emerging “knowledge societies,” little has been done to organize the broad and messy realm of human benefit knowledge that encompasses the overlapping policy, planning, futures, and leadership “communities.” The problem of the narrow brickmaker mentality still persists, along with more infoglut, more rapid obsolescence, more fragmentation, more label profusion, and even more nationalistic division. A World Brain for the 21st century should have at least seven features: timely abstracts of key books/reports/articles in several languages, comprehensive coverage, identification of not-yet-published books in the publisher's pipeline, regional and national nodes for collection and dissemination, overviews of sectoral and cross-sectoral issues, user-friendly features, and ample publicity. An appreciative environment must also be built, encompassing more and better technology assessment, ongoing “Top Ten” booklists for each sector and issue, annual prioritizing of issues, integrative research units at universities, more effort to promote civic education, more debates, more attention to good information design, and a higher status for high-quality human benefit thinking.

Journal

FuturesElsevier

Published: Oct 1, 2007

References

  • Futures studies in the 21st century: a reality-based view
    Marien, M.
  • Global futures studies: evolving foundations of a meta-discourse
    Ramos, J.

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