On Expertise and Revolution

If you're interested in the expert/amateur debate, you must read the latest from Clay Shirky:

Digital and networked production vastly increase three kinds of freedom: freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly. This perforce increases the freedom of anyone to say anything at any time. This freedom has led to an explosion in novel content, much of it mediocre, but freedom is like that. Critically, this expansion of freedom has not undermined any of the absolute advantages of expertise; the virtues of mastery remain are as they were. What has happened is that the relative advantages of expertise are in precipitous decline. Experts the world over have been shocked to discover that they were consulted not as a direct result of their expertise, but often as a secondary effect -- the apparatus of credentialing made finding experts easier than finding amateurs, even when the amateurs knew the same things as the experts.

This applies to mainstream GIS as well. Who was the go-to person for GIS data formats before blogs? Frank Warmerdam. Who's the go-to person today? Frank Warmerdam. A million amateurs typing in their blogs about the pros and cons of various formats hasn't changed that in the least. Likewise, a million amateur heatmaps won't reduce the value of a sharp spatial statistician. What has changed is the situation for people with industry credentials but only marginal expertise.


Re: On Expertise and Revolution

Author: FantomPlanet

Good grief, Sean. Now I'm mediocre? :)