As a co-founder of The Transformation Society, Ray focuses on complexity and technological change. He presented “Our Role and Responsibility in Information 4.0” with Andy McDonald at The LavaCon Conference in Dublin in May and will be joining us in Portland in November.
How did you become interested in Information 4.0?
I think I have always been interested in it‒even before it existed. What I mean is this flows naturally out of my interest and involvement in the future, in the meeting place between culture and technology, out of a sense of play merged with a seriousness of purpose. I’ve been this way ever since I can remember: as a small boy, in high school, and certainly in my professional life, whatever career I was following at the time.
What do content professionals need to know about Information 4.0?
At the risk of overdramatizing, they need to know it is nothing like the kind of content we’ve known until now, whether we’re doing technical communication, marketing, webs, information architecture, content strategy or whatever. Sure, we’ll still write‒though we’ll do a whole lot more curating. Sure, we’ll still have to provide structure, coherence, reliability, and all the rest. But the definition of “valid” might be true, or useful, only for half an hour. Much of the information we now treat will be handled exclusively by machines, in codes that are not readable by humans.
A lot of the work we now do will be taken over by machines, chatbots, AI engines crunching Big Data, etc. Our jobs will be less to provide answers, and more to guide people to the answers they need. People know a lot already, but they also have big gaps in their knowledge. We can’t know in advance what they know or don’t know. We have to be ready to provide an offer of information that they can choose from, so they aren’t bored wading through stuff they know, or put off by an assumption of prior knowledge they don’t have. Continue reading