The Learning-Knowledge-Language Innovation Hot Zone

How combining three emerging technologies is driving innovation

The Learning-Knowledge-Language (LKL) Innovation Hot Zone combines three emerging technology dimensions to create new business solutions. Image by the author.
  1. unifying the fundamental forces of physics and
  2. being able to explain physics to non-technical people.
The landing page of the Optum Global Hackathon attracted over 500 5-person teams worldwide. Artwork by Optum hackathon staff used by permission.

The Learning Dimension

The Learning area includes both machine learning (ML) and symbolic learning, such as link inference. Image by the author.

The Knowledge Dimension

Enterprise Knowledge Graphs are at the top of our Innovation Hot Zone—image by the Author.

The Language Dimension

The Language area includes Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies, including powerful new large language model tools such as BERT and GPT-3 that are easy to extend.
The Hugging Face website has over 14 thousand natural language models you can use in your NLP stack—an image by the author from the Hugging Face website.

The LKL Innovation Hot Zone

The LKL Innovation Hot Zone is where Learning, Knowledge, and Langauge technologies interact. Image by the author.
The AI Flywheel uses feedback from predictions as an additional data set to tune our predictive model. This is an example of positive feedback—image by the author.

Multidimensional Systems Thinking Wins Hackathons

When I was judging all the hackathon entries, one of the questions we must ask was, “Does this project show promise for new technology patents.” Every team gets rated on a score of 1 to 10. But many of the hackathon entries applied a single dimension of NKN theory. For example, a team did ML with no persistent knowledge graph or no NLP. Their work was trapped in a Jupyter Notebook that only a data scientist would understand. There were not many of these entries like this, but I suspect they didn’t score highly.


LKL Innovation Hot Zone theory tells us that we need to carefully include Learning, Knowledge, and Language in our curriculums at colleges and universities. It means we need to encourage our staff to take these classes in their continuing education. It means that if we want a vibrant patent portfolio, we need to find people who can combine all three of these key dimensions to create new patents that drive innovative product development. And it means that if we want to retain staff in the Innovation Hot Zone, we need to recognize these individuals and help them mentor other staff in these critical technologies.



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Dan McCreary

Distinguished Engineer that loves knowledge graphs, AI, and Systems Thinking. Fan of STEM, microcontrollers, robotics, PKGs, and the AI Racing League.