Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Too much information running through our Web?

I take time out from endeavors of the creative kind, to issue a brief rant....

The title of the following article from February's Wired may seem counter-intuitive, but that's exactly why it's such an interesting read:
Clive Thompson on How More Info Leads to Less Knowledge
... After years of celebrating the information revolution, we need to focus on the countervailing force: The disinformation revolution. The ur-example of what [Stanford Historian Robert] Proctor calls an agnotological campaign is the funding of bogus studies by cigarette companies trying to link lung cancer to baldness, viruses—anything but their product. ...
Click the title to read the whole piece; it's worth it. It's also a concept I've been talking up to my friends for several months now: giving people easy access to wrong information is just as harmful as blocking their access to the real kind.

There's been a tremendous proliferation of sites and e-mail blasts dedicated to spreading rumor, innuendo and out-right lies in order to attack the innovative ideas that threaten the profits and outdated worldview of the status quo.

There's more of a need than ever for a healthy public skepticism, and the ability to filter authoritative news sources from manipulative ones. Without that, we may find ourselves retreating into a new Dark Age. Speaking of which, I'm overdue for another of my philosophical posts.
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