Saturday, June 09, 2007

Google making us dumber?

I would actually think of it terms of the much larger question: are google and wikipedia making us dumber? On first thought my answer would be no- both are just tools of information dissemination. Considering that information control has been a tradional form of suppression how could such tools not benefit us? You have a mediccal condition-google and find out what is being done world over to solve this. You need to know something in physics-search wikipedia. Seen in this way there are a thousand things for which simple availability of information can make life a lot easier and actually empower people(for example: what are the land rates, how much govt budget has been allocated?-the babus wont control the information).

But then, if everything is available on the click of a mouse will humans need to remember anything and put in an effort to understand something? Actually that might not be necessary. The information is just there and if its not freely available there are poeple (or services) that you can trust, who can find the information for you. You might as well use your time more productively, doing things that are of interest to you. (I dont really know whether an increase in the amount of leisure time is good or bad for the average human being). Information helps us make better choices, and hence the more the merrier.

The key question is that-how much of the information is credible? That problem is taken care of simply by peer reviews, in most subjective matters vies both for/against any argument can be found. Now information always from the winners curse, i.e. just because there is some information that is available-is the information the best available measure is a problem of information per se and not the search engine that you use to search for the information.

For example, History is always biased towards the victor. It takes years of painstaking research or possible clear chronicles to understand the perspective of the vanquised. All information is like that- the tabulation/record of the information is because-someone intends to present that information in that way.

So where does it all leave me: The tools for information search are not a problem, the problem is with the quality of information. Now that can only be improved by more and more people using the tools for search, because that would set parameters to be analyzed by the entire group. So run more of those searches please.

PS: i do not own google stock :D

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