I was talking to a colleague about the sad state of Knowledge Management ("if only we knew what we know"), when I decided to get the actual Donald Rumsfeld quote on 'unknown unknowns'. It is indeed a beautiful piece of poetry...
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.
—Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing
Read more of Rumsfeld's eloquent (and sometimes not so eloquent) quotes in this Slate article from 2003, compiled by Hart Seely.
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