Welcome to the Knowledge Age

Okay, maybe I'm splitting some hairs between "Information" and "Knowledge", but I'm choosing to define "information" as simply the summary or statement of the raw data itself (i.e. observed facts without opinion), and "knowledge" as providing you with the ability to make good use of the available data.

You can see some of this beginning to take shape right now. Blogs, like the one you are reading right now, are a key factor in helping us to interpret fact through opinion and personal experiences.

How do you know which car to purchase? Pick up the Lemonade Guide. Make an informed decision before you buy!

How do you know which company to work for? Research them first. There are many places to look.

How do you know which TV or Stereo to buy? DON'T start by asking the sales staff at your local electronics store. Start by asking your friends or family their preferences and experiences. If you can, check out some of web forums where they talk about their purchases.

If we're going to survive in this world, we're going to have to know how to make the right decisions. To do that, we're not only going to need access to timely information, but we're also going to need access to the risks involved in certain situations.

Want to travel abroad? Don't just look at the pretty brochures! Take into account the weather conditions, health risks and the political conditions. If you don't, you might get lucky and have a good time. If you're not so lucky, you might end up in a foreign hospital, jail or even dead.

Do you still want to let a coin flip make that decision for you?

We need more than just Information. We need to know how to process that information to help us make good, informed decisions. When we can do that, we will truly have "Progress".

I do believe that we are on the cusp of a new "Knowledge Age". The signs are appearing around us every day. Unfortunately, the capitalists and war mongers are also out there helping to drag us back into the Dark Ages. We can get through these challenging times if we're strong and help each other out. Not everything needs to be about who's right, who's wrong, and how you can make a fast buck. (Note that I don't think that making money to provide for yourself, your family, and/or to enjoy life is a bad thing. Making money solely to achieve power, prestige, or at the expense of other life is wrong in everybody's books.)

I've read enough Science Fiction stories to know that there are probably an infinite number of ways that we can make the Earth a really bad place to live. It's my planet too, so I'd like to think that we can make the best of it if we just work together.

Okay, so what's the connection to Software Testing? If we apply this idea to what we do, a good Software Tester provides information. Good, credible information is unbiased and reproducible (whenever possible). That doesn't excuse the Software Tester from their responsibility to provide additional opinions, alternatives, and risks that may not be apparent simply by looking at the testing information that we provide.

Testers are a part of the development team, and therefore a part of the overall decision-making process. If you don't care enough to play an active role in the decisions affecting product releases and the future of the company you work for, then you waive your right to complain if things don't turn out the way you think they should.

I've no patience for whiners. They shouldn't work in the Software Industry at all. Neither should scapegoat-hunters. Next time a problem arises at work, how will you react? What will your contribution be?

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