I’m in the midst of some work for the MoE that includes reference to the “Knowledge Society” concept which has raised issues forme, in particular, the constant substitution of the word “information” for “knowledge” when referring to this concept – and the fact that many people use the terms interchangably in this regard.
An interesting media release titled Knowledge versus information societies : UNESCO report takes stock of the difference arrived in my mailbox today which provides some helpful distinctions.
The release from the UNESCO website refers to a report launched in Paris this week by UNESCO Director-General Ko??chiro Matsuura which is the first in a new series of World Reports, ??Towards Knowledge Societies?? and will be presented at the World Summit on the Information Society (Tunis, November 16-18.
The distinction made by the authors of the report is sumamrised as:
- Knowledge societies contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities, and encompass social, ethical and political dimensions.
- Information societies, on the other hand, are based on technological breakthroughs that risk providing little more than ??a mass of indistinct data?? for those who don??t have the skills to benefit from it
The report contains examples of development from around the world, and interesting statistics on the extent of internet access in different countries.
The report urges governments to expand quality education for all, increase community access to information and communication technology, and improve cross-border scientific knowledge-sharing, in an effort to narrow the digital and ??knowledge?? divides between the North and South and move towards a ??smart?? form of sustainable human development.
The stakes are high, stresses the Report, for the cost of ignorance is greater than the cost of education and knowledge sharing.