Beyond the Information Age discusses a new way of thinking about computers, knowledge and understanding. See the editorial for more information....

Ideas with a Life of their Own

In this second part of this book we are going to use the knowledge presented in the first part to form the basis for a radical new understanding that will be the basis for a new world society existing beyond our current information age. Because this new understanding is so radically different from what we have today it may take many years to make the transition to this new age. On the other hand we could make the change in as little as a few years if people are ready to do it. There is an old saying that: There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come and hopefully this is true for this idea too. The only problem with ideas like this is that you never know exactly when the ideas time will come. It could be two years or it could be two hundred years, but only 'time will tell'.

This chapter brings up the issue of the intelligent-system. Intelligent-system is the name of this issue. The words intelligent, like its companion term intelligence, are purposely vague terms that people use to describe a desirable operation of people and machines. With no proper definition, these words are a popular catch-all for all types of behavior and so it makes sense to use intelligent to describe the systems you are about to read about. The word system is defined as an 'assembly of parts' that form a complete unit. But for the purpose of this book the precise definition of the term intelligent-system will be given as 'a system of both knowledge and understanding' with knowledge and understanding being the two major parts of the system.

If you remember; understanding is something that must always use energy in order to operate and knowledge is the stuff that can be stored in memory without power. Therefore there must be some physical manifestation of an intelligent-system for it to have a place in space for its memory, and it must also be expected to use energy while it is operating. This definition of intelligent-system applies to all living things including both plants and animals and here the word intelligent defines a certain respect for any life-form that can make a living for itself here on Planet Earth.

Now it may be easy to see that life-forms are intelligent-systems but it maybe more difficult to see that a marriage or a web-page are also manifestations of intelligent-systems.

A marriage is an intelligent-system of two understanding engines, a man and a woman usually assembled for the purpose of caring for children. Both partners' brains function as the knowledge memory for the intelligent-system. The available actions of the combined union of partners form the basic understandings of the marriage or family.

Some fixed knowledge in the form of a marriage license along with societies written laws also govern the functions of the institution of marriage. Knowledge stored in these documents is expected to be remembered by both partners. Now 'marriage' is just an idea for people who are not married because it has no physical manifestation and no energy consumption. The idea (the knowledge) of a marriage becomes a reality at the very moment when two people 'tie the knot' as they say. Now the knowledge of the marriage has acquired two understanding engines and it becomes a complete intelligent-system containing both knowledge and understanding.

Last Update: 2006-Dec-23