Tacit approval and atomic bombs

by reestheskin on 09/10/2014

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One of the major challenges in clinical medicine is to delineate what knowledge can be formalised and what remains tacit. In general I believe we underestimate the latter. I like this example from a Nature editorial:

[tacit] know-how that can be passed on only through direct contact, and not by written or verbal instruction. How to ride a bicycle is a classic case. How to make an atomic bomb is a less-well-known example: all the instructions to build a nuclear weapon may be there on the Internet, but the ‘been there, done that’ personal experience is not. Indeed, security analysts have suggested that the lack of active testing and consequent erosion of nuclear-weapon tacit knowledge is leading to the “uninvention” of the bomb, and reduced credibility of the nuclear deterrent.

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