The larger discussions, from what constitutes a nutritious diet to what actions will best further U.S. interests, require conversations between ordinary citizens and experts. But increasingly, citizens don’t want to have those conversations. Rather, they want to weigh in and have their opinions treated with deep respect and their preferences honored not on the strength of their arguments or on the evidence they present but based on their feelings, emotions, and whatever stray information they may have picked up here or there along the way.
Hofstadter argued that this overwhelming complexity produced feelings of helplessness and anger among a citizenry that knew itself to be increasingly at the mercy of more sophisticated elites. “
Credentialism can run amok, and guilds can use it cynically to generate revenue or protect their fiefdoms with unnecessary barriers to entry. But it can also reflect actual learning and professional competence, helping separate real experts from amateurs or charlatans.
Experts are often wrong, and the good ones among them are the first to admit it…. Yet these days, members of the public search for expert errors and revel in finding them—<b>not to improve understanding but rather to give themselves license to disregard all expert advice they don’t like.<b>
The convenience of the Internet is a tremendous boon, but mostly for people already trained in research and who have some idea what they’re looking for. It does little good, unfortunately, for a student or an untrained layperson who has never been taught how to judge the provenance of information or the reputability of a writer.
Libraries, or at least their reference and academic sections, once served as a kind of first cut through the noise of the marketplace. The Internet, however, is less a library than a giant repository where anyone can dump anything. In practice, this means that a search for information will rely on algorithms usually developed by for-profit companies using opaque criteria. Actual research is hard and often boring. It requires the ability to find authentic information, sort through it, analyze it, and apply it.
Government and expertise rely on each other, especially in a democracy. The technological and economic progress that ensures the well-being of a population requires a division of labor, which in turn leads to the creation of professions. Professionalism encourages experts to do their best to serve their clients, respect their own knowledge boundaries, and demand that their boundaries be respected by others, as part of an overall service to the ultimate client: society itself.
Dictatorships, too, demand this same service of experts, but they extract it by threat and direct its use by command. This is why dictatorships are actually less efficient and less productive than democracies (despite some popular stereotypes to the contrary). In a democracy, the expert’s service to the public is part of the social contract.
Too few citizens today understand democracy to mean a condition of political equality in which all get the franchise and are equal in the eyes of the law. Rather, they think of it as a state of actual equality, in which every opinion is as good as any other, regardless of the logic or evidentiary base behind it.
#DunningKrugerEffect #metacognition #democracy #science #academy #fakenews #conspiracytheories #politics #idiocracy #InformationTechnology #Internet
Alphabet’s Plans for a China Comeback Go Beyond Google Search
Google has faced sharp criticism, including from its own employees
, for its efforts to rebuild an internet search presence in China
after quitting the country eight years ago over censorship issues.
for Google’s corporate parent, Alphabet, the opportunities in the world’s largest internet market may be too good to resist. And the full scope of the company’s interest in China now appears to be broader than just internet search.
The latest hint came from Waymo, the driverless-car company that was spun out of Google in 2016. Chinese media noticed this week that the business had quietly registered a Shanghai subsidiary in May, suggesting that it wants a piece of an industry that the Chinese government has made a priority.
Unlike Google, Apple runs its own app store in China, heeding government directives about the kinds of apps that can be available to Chinese users. Microsoft and Amazon offer cloud computing services, working with local partners and following strict controls on how customers’ data is stored.
Baidu, maker of the country’s leading search engine, has made its autonomous-vehicle software platform available to dozens of local and foreign companies. SAIC Motor, China’s largest carmaker, is working with the e-commerce titan Alibaba. BMW and Daimler have received permission in China to test their own self-driving vehicles.
more on Google and China in this IMS blog
the topics of privacy pertaining technology is becoming ubiquitous.
If you feel that the content of your class material can benefit of such discussions, please let us know.
Please have some titles, which can help you brainstorm topics for discussions in your classes:
Power, Privacy, and the Internet
Privacy groups slam Department of Homeland Security social media proposal
FBI quietly changes its privacy rules for accessing NSA data on Americans
Facebook canceled a student’s internship after he highlighted a massive privacy issue
Teenagers, The Internet, And Privacy
Online privacy: It’s time for a new security paradigm
On social media, privacy, etc.
Hacking the Future: Privacy, Identity, and Anonymity On the Web
Are We Puppets in a Wired World?
How Teens Deal With Privacy and Mobile Apps
If you seek more tangible, hands-on assistance with similar and/or any topics regarding technology, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Internet and cloud services – statistics on the use by individuals. Half of Europeans used the internet on the go and a fifth saved files on internet storage space in 2014
Use of internet and other means for sharing files electronically, EU-28, 2014 (% of individuals)4
for the entire list of books, EBooks, and DVDs acquired in November 2013, please use this Google Doc list:
Stryker, Cole. Hacking the Future: Privacy, Identity, and Anonymity On the Web. New York: Overlook Duckworth, 2012.
SPIEGEL: But you also said that lists can establish order. So, do both order and anarchy apply? That would make the Internet, and the lists that the search engine Google creates, prefect for you.
Eco: Yes, in the case of Google, both things do converge. Google makes a list, but the minute I look at my Google-generated list, it has already changed. These lists can be dangerous — not for old people like me, who have acquired their knowledge in another way, but for young people, for whom Google is a tragedy. Schools ought to teach the high art of how to be discriminating.
SPIEGEL: Are you saying that teachers should instruct students on the difference between good and bad? If so, how should they do that?
Eco: Education should return to the way it was in the workshops of the Renaissance. There, the masters may not necessarily have been able to explain to their students why a painting was good in theoretical terms, but they did so in more practical ways. Look, this is what your finger can look like, and this is what it has to look like. Look, this is a good mixing of colors. The same approach should be used in school when dealing with the Internet. The teacher should say: “Choose any old subject, whether it be German history or the life of ants. Search 25 different Web pages and, by comparing them, try to figure out which one has good information.” If 10 pages describe the same thing, it can be a sign that the information printed there is correct. But it can also be a sign that some sites merely copied the others’ mistakes.
SPIEGEL: You yourself are more likely to work with books, and you have a library of 30,000 volumes. It probably doesn’t work without a list or catalogue.
Eco: I’m afraid that, by now, it might actually be 50,000 books. When my secretary wanted to catalogue them, I asked her not to. My interests change constantly, and so does my library. By the way, if you constantly change your interests, your library will constantly be saying something different about you. Besides, even without a catalogue, I’m forced to remember my books. I have a hallway for literature that’s 70 meters long. I walk through it several times a day, and I feel good when I do. Culture isn’t knowing when Napoleon died. Culture means knowing how I can find out in two minutes. Of course, nowadays I can find this kind of information on the Internet in no time. But, as I said, you never know with the Internet.