On Data/Information

There has always been a lot of information and data; what is different today is that information is easier to access especially because of the ever expansive global network facilitated by the internet.We are more connected today than perhaps any time in history. Images from Gaza or Ferguson are accessible as instantly to a person in Windhoek as they to a person where they are being captured.

In one sense, this is good. It makes it difficult for the masses to say they were unaware especially of certain atrocities. On the other hand, it also gives many of us false confidence of being informed when in reality what we’ve done is skimmed, formed an opinion, and resupplied our quick retort war chest in the event that we are asked for a reaction.

I’ve realized two things in the last few years from various events, including wars, springs, etc.: 1) being ignorant in the face of readily available information is problematic and in some ways in excusable; however 2) What is really scary is going about as if we are informed when we really are not. Looking at a picture or a tweet of Ebola should prompt someone to want to know more before forming an opinion and perhaps read something that is at least a paragraph.

Yes, with so much information coming at us rapidly, it is impossible to read it all. It is also incredibly difficult to decipher what is what, and what is accurate or trustworthy. One ways to address this, is through services that gather information and curate it in a more consumable way. Of course to avoid the danger of living in curator created and maintained bubble, one would have to be careful with relying on only one source or sources from only one country or one geographical area.

The mass availability of information, makes it difficult for us to say “we didn’t know”, unfortunately it has brought about another phenomenon of “we thought we knew”….which results when we are not critical of what we consume.

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