all bits considered data to information to knowledge

22Feb/130

Diverging realities

An ability to filter information based upon one’s personal preferences and tastes has never been greater even as variety of the available information explodes. Therein lays a problem - rarely if ever do we choose to be exposed to something that we do not want to hear, view or read, and as a result we are surrounded with “yes-information” (by analogy with “yes-man” definition from Merriam-Webster).

Some of these filtering criteria are based on our own conscious choices, some - on insights into our subconscious preferences gathered from a social media trail… This ultimately leads to stratification of the society into “interest groups”, each being fed a different information diet, each assembling its own version of reality from the information that gets through the filters.

This “freedom of association” is not a new phenomenon, to be sure; it’s the emerging totality of it that might be transmogrifying one's freedom into a self-imposed exile.

P.S. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal by Evgeni Morozov  highlights other dangers of so-called "smart gadgets" - surrendering our ability to make mistakes. The smart gadgets are giving a new twist to the social engineering attempts as "a number of thinkers in Silicon Valley see these technologies as a way not just to give consumers new products that they want but to push them to behave better."  Of course, this implies that this "better" is a well understood universal concept; yet it has been proven - times and again - that the road to hell is paved with good intentions...