Weird sign: a lesson on context

Spotted at a supermarket:

glassjuice.jpg

Context affords a huge amount of information – it enables understanding. Without context, the phrase “Glass Juice” is utterly meaningless.

Contrast this with how databases, knowledge management systems (KMS), customer relationship systems (CRM) works with information. In order for these systems to manage information effectively, we are forced to pare down the rich context of knowing a person, a skill, or an experience; to arrive at a very sterile and impoverished set of data units.

Instead, we rely on the human operators, the users of these systems, to fill in the context. It does also mean that in the hands of a user who has no context for knowing the person, skill, or experience concerned; KMS and CMS are probably not that useful.

Is this why so-called Expert Systems are never really as good as humans who actually are the experts? Is this why the world’s best CRM in the hands of a telemarketing (spam) company still makes them come across like shallow greasepots?

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