We Are Largely Unaware of Our Own Ignorance, and The Internet Is Not Helping Things http://www…


We Are Largely Unaware of Our Own Ignorance, and The Internet Is Not Helping Things


In Plato's 'book Apology', he wrote about Socrates' discussion of various philosophical topics, like the very basis of knowledge. In that dialogue, he stated that he knew something because he realized the extent of his own ignorance.

"The only thing I know is that I know nothing."

This sort of humility is sorely lacking in modern society, as everyone seems to be purporting themselves as experts in all sorts of areas of life which they do not have any real experience or knowledge. And we can blame the Internet for that, in large part. Consider a recent study by Yale researchers Matthew Fisher, Mariel Goddu, and Frank Keil:

"Ready access to the Internet has changed how we perceive what we know (and don’t know) and how we search for information. The researchers ask, “Might the Internet’s unique accessibility, speed, and expertise cause us to lose track of our reliance upon it, distorting how we view our own abilities?”

Their experiments show that the answer is yes: 'Searching for answers online leads to an illusion such that externally accessible information is conflated with knowledge ‘in the head.’'"

After being able to look up answers on Google, it seems that people begin to believe that they can just formulate answers to nearly anything from their own heads, even if they have no real knowledge of what they are talking about.

This is real problem because we make choices and decisions based on what we know and don't know. If our decisions are affected by illusions of knowledge, we will often make very bad choices. Some humility in life is not only warranted, but wise.