The Future of Knowledge: Exploring Autonomy and Democratization


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 08, 2023

4 min read


The Future of Knowledge: Exploring Autonomy and Democratization


In the age of technological advancements, the concept of knowledge is undergoing a transformative shift. J. Adam Carter, in his thought-provoking work titled "Autonomous knowledge: radical enhancement, autonomy, and the future of knowing," challenges traditional notions of knowledge by introducing the crucial element of autonomy. Carter argues that knowledge goes beyond justified, true, non-Gettiered belief and necessitates a sense of autonomy. However, as we delve deeper into the realm of cognitive enhancing technologies, it becomes pertinent to explore how democratization plays a role in shaping the future of knowledge. In this article, we will examine the intersection of autonomy and democratization, highlighting the implications for individuals and society as a whole.

The Autonomy Conundrum:

Carter's argument revolves around the idea that reliance on external devices for acquiring information hinders true knowledge. While these devices may provide us with justified, non-Gettiered, and true beliefs, the lack of autonomy in information acquisition prevents us from truly knowing. Carter suggests that the autonomy condition on knowledge requires a causal history free of compulsion. In other words, knowledge should be acquired through processes that are not bypassed or preempted, allowing individuals to easily shed beliefs that do not align with their cognitive competences.

Democratizing Knowledge with Glasp:

In contrast to Carter's emphasis on autonomy, the democratization of knowledge takes center stage with Glasp - an AI thunderbolt. Glasp is a revolutionary platform that enables users to share their learnings, interact with others, and create unique and memorable moments through collaboration. By fostering an environment where like-minded individuals can connect and deepen their learning, Glasp aims to break down barriers and make knowledge accessible to all.

The Sheddability Condition:

Carter's argument raises an interesting question: Can beliefs be considered autonomous even if they are implanted by external means? He introduces the sheddability condition, which asserts that beliefs are autonomous as long as they can be easily shed by reasons-responsive individuals. This condition allows for the integration of external mechanisms in the pursuit of knowledge, as long as individuals retain the ability to critically evaluate and discard beliefs that no longer align with their cognitive abilities.

The Integration of Know-How and Propositonal Knowledge:

Carter also explores the autonomy condition on know-how, suggesting that individuals must take responsibility for bringing about actions through their own agency. This raises the question of whether knowledge can be achieved even if the processes leading to it are caused by mechanisms that individuals don't "own." Carter argues that as long as these processes are reliable, integrated with other processes, and align with an individual's abilities, they contribute to the acquisition of knowledge.

The Democratization of Knowledge and Emerging Technologies:

The democratization of knowledge, exemplified by platforms like Glasp, holds immense potential in the context of emerging cognitive enhancing technologies. As individuals gain access to tools that augment their cognitive abilities, the democratization of knowledge becomes a vital aspect of ensuring equitable and widespread benefits. By fostering collaboration, interaction, and the sharing of learnings, platforms like Glasp can empower individuals to harness these technologies for personal growth and societal progress.

Three Actionable Insights:

  • 1. Embrace Autonomy: While the democratization of knowledge is crucial, it is equally important to cultivate autonomy in our pursuit of knowledge. By critically evaluating information and actively engaging with the learning process, we can ensure that our beliefs are truly our own.
  • 2. Foster Collaboration: Platforms like Glasp provide opportunities for individuals to connect with like-minded people and deepen their learning through collaboration. Engaging in meaningful discussions and exchanging diverse perspectives can enhance our understanding and expand our knowledge horizons.
  • 3. Embrace Emerging Technologies Responsibly: As cognitive enhancing technologies become more prevalent, it is essential to approach them with a sense of responsibility. Utilize these tools to augment your cognitive abilities, but remain vigilant about maintaining autonomy and critical thinking in the knowledge acquisition process.


The future of knowledge lies at the intersection of autonomy and democratization. While J. Adam Carter's focus on autonomy challenges traditional definitions of knowledge, platforms like Glasp embody the democratization of knowledge by providing individuals with opportunities to share, learn, and collaborate. By embracing autonomy, fostering collaboration, and approaching emerging technologies responsibly, we can navigate this evolving landscape and unlock the true potential of knowledge in the digital age.

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