The Information Age is not necessarily an age of wisdom, or even of knowledge. In fact the abundance of information only increases the value of wisdom and demands more from the wise.
What is wisdom? My definition (feel free to refute it) is that it is the ability to put knowledge to its highest and best use. Said another way, wisdom is actionable intelligence with a moral backbone.
“What are you going to do with all of that data?” is a question with immense ethical implications. Wisdom requires us to look for the greatest good and pursue it. Our questions and assumptions about human nature are critical.
- Are people generally good or evil?
- Are transparency and accountability more important than anonymity and privacy?
- What are the effects of an increasingly transparent world … socially, politically, economically…?
- What are the logical limits and concerns as we move forward?
- What are the implications for democracies, nation-states and the social fabric of communities in a rapidly globalizing economy?
These questions take us back to essential assumptions that make or break us as we establish policies and protocols for each new environment. We must have wisdom.
With so much information moving so quickly it is common to forget the past, or to miss details, or to hyper-focus on one aspect of a problem. The art of analysis and curation requires us to keep a strategic perspective while also drilling down into the details. We need big picture clarity and also the ability to deep dive in the endless sea of big data.
The wisest way to live in a world of glass houses is as if someone is always watching. There is no guarantee of privacy for anything, so live with integrity.
A Hippocratic Oath for the Information Age?
Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law – Kant
First, Do no Harm – 19th-century surgeon Thomas Inman
Do Unto Others as You Would Have them Do Unto You – the Golden Rule
Don’t be Evil – Google