Sunday, 27 March 2011


It seems to me not enough to be an expert in one field, one must also have significant knowledge of other fields. For example, if an expert is writing a textbook on their area of expertise, they may wish to include a diagram to communicate the facts and ideas. However, the appropriate design of diagrams is, in itself, an area of expertise: the expert needs some (perhaps significant) knowledge of the latter discipline in order to be able to communicate the ideas. A further example is language, spelling and grammar - the expert needs to know these in order to communicate his ideas. Are the requirements for secondary knowledge limited to communication techniques? No, they can be analysis techniques, and documentation techniques, etc. This line of thinking reminds me of a quote from Thomas Henry Huxley:

Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.

But actually that's not where I'm going with this thought. I think the real concern is that an expert cannot be fully effective as they cannot possibly be an expert in everything due to human limitations. Such a realisation, of course, leads to the thought: bring on the singularity!


This thought arose from an encounter with an (in my opinion) especially poorly designed diagram in a textbook of a renowned expert (who, in my opinion, had not sufficienty diversified his expertise!).

I have also been thinking about the purpose of diagrams. There are two separate categories that come to mind:
  • simplying the explanation of a complex topic (a picture is worth a thousand words)
  • providing an aide-memoir that is helpful only one the user understands the topic area

1 comment:

Forgery expert said...
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