Sunday, February 08, 2009

The value of computing and knowledge.

In an effort to put a price on a new information consumption engine that I am building, I was asked to figure out what a license cost might look like. After nearly 20 years in the field of Knowledge Management I have been able to measure the value of systems that accelerate a known process through computation and workflow rules... but a system that actually acts as if it is thinking and produces unpredictable results is a different animal all together. I believe that we are starting to reach a new paradigm shift in computing where AI systems mining chaotic information start to look more like an expert than an expert system. I have been able to elevate chaotic information into structured knowledge that has value only to the cognitive process of the human recipient. A very similar process to the one we are engaged in when we discuss, discover and enrich our knowledge from others. From that premiss, I can only think that such a system should be valued and measured according to what it brings to those interacting with it. Basically it should be considered as valuable as co-workers. Perhaps this is a stretch today for most of us, but with IBM's research in human-like computing I can see the day when we will price these systems according to interaction benefits over measured ROIs.