Knowledge workers, information workers

Microsoft's rechristening of the "knowledge worker" as an "information worker" -- which has been the Jeff Raikes message for a few months now -- keeps surfacing from a corner of my mind at odd moments. At the Fusion event in LA, Raikes suggested that "knowledge worker" is an elitist term, and positioned "information worker" as, basically, the rest of us.

To a first approximation, I suppose information workers are those 100 million souls who have yet to abandon the Win9x codebase. People whose use computers and software to do their jobs, but who do not consider themselves creators, or repositories, of knowledge.

I understand and appreciate the rationale for this shift. But it also troubles me. People are the creators and repositories of knowledge. All kinds of people. That is what we do as a species, and networked software is taking the game to a new level. It's the impulse that weblogs tap into. I loved the fact that this was (at least implicitly) woven into Microsoft's message. To turn knowledge into some kind of deprecated highbrow fantasy seems a terrible shame.

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