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Will the internet liberate or aid the control of knowledge?

 
 
Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2009 12:07 pm
With increasing communication systems, it is now almost taken for granted that we can find out most things we want from the internet. Presumably this will increase... in the assumed progression of the liberation of knowledge.
I just wanted to question this presumption. I think, in some respects, the more knowledge the internet contains, not only does the less 'accurate' this knowledge become, but the more blind the idea of having 'the world's knowledge at the touch of a button,' makes us.
Not that censorship is a new thing, of course, but in my opinion, the information NOT PUBLISHED can potentially be as dangerous as what IS published. For if we are under the illusion of knowing everything, then what is kept from us by corporations/governments can shape what we do know. We are under a false omnipotence.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 12 • Views: 2,847 • Replies: 28

 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2009 12:52 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Actually...there is that possibility.

But I suspect this has more to do with how we evaluate what we get from the Internet...than with the availability of information on that highway.

Anyone taking information from anywhere (Internet, media, word of mouth) and running with it blind rather than subjecting it to scrutiny and critical evaluation.

I love “having the world at my fingertips.”

But I am judicious about what I accept as truth versus possibly the truth.
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djjd62
 
  3  
Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2009 12:56 pm
i would never have known about the lizard people and the illuminati's plan for world domination without the internet
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DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2009 12:58 pm
The Internet has definitely made use more conscious of how we rate data's reliability. Anonymous E-mails are not reliable; Wikipedia is somewhat reliable, Snopes is generally reliable, etc.

Now, if you want to prevent the proliferation of some piece of knowledge, one method is to flood the domain with bad information.

This is different from keeping data confidential. The Internet has made it much more difficult to keep information confidential. Witness the Streisand Effect.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2009 01:09 pm
@DrewDad,
Kinda reminds me of the many, many authors and movie producers who hoped their works would make it to the Catholic Church's banned lists.
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Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2009 01:22 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
The Pentacle Queen wrote:
For if we are under the illusion of knowing everything, then what is kept from us by corporations/governments can shape what we do know. We are under a false omnipotence.


Seems like the solution, then, is to refrain from believing we are omnipotent, which isn't all that difficult. Certainly there are people who will believe they know more than they actually do (meaning simply that they will think they have the whole picture when they don't), but there have always been people like that.

I'm not sure about the corporations and governments bit. If you're suggesting that they largely control the circulation of knowledge, I'd have thought the internet was one of the things working against that monopoly, or at least one potential way of fighting it. But perhaps I'm misreading you?
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2009 06:00 pm
@Shapeless,
Yeah on second thoughts this perhaps wasn't as big a deal as I thought it was when i wrote it. Oh well, I am very tired. I didn't sleep on saturday.

Quote:
I'm not sure about the corporations and governments bit. If you're suggesting that they largely control the circulation of knowledge, I'd have thought the internet was one of the things working against that monopoly, or at least one potential way of fighting it. But perhaps I'm misreading you?

Yes, it is a way of fighting it, but I also think an amount of control over the shape of an issue can be exercised by what doesn't get revealed. But yes that's nothing particularly new.
Shapeless
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2009 08:35 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
I wouldn't go so far as to say it isn't a big deal. You and others have raised a good point that the increase in available information means we need to exercise a commensurately higher level of judgment when we evaluate this information. It's not a dilemma that the internet created (being able to scrutinize one's sources has always been a necessity) but it has exacerbated it. Just about any viewpoint, no matter how ludicrous, can now be "supported" by sources found on the internet--several A2K threads could serve as examples of this!
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NickFun
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Feb, 2009 10:50 pm
Certainly I know more now than I did before the internet age (PQ you're too young to remember that). But I suspect much of what we see and hear will be manipulated by the government. YouTube, for example, controls much of what we see and hear on the web. Certain niches will control the information in the future. Be afraid.
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2009 06:14 am
Shapeless is reinforcing what I said in my first answer.

Don't be naive when dealing with info from the Internet. Fact check everything that you are depending on to make a decision...or to argue a point.

The info is a good thing...using it without checking it out is a bad thing.
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djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2009 06:36 am
disinformation is certainly a powerful tool

look at the amount of 9/11 conspiracy information on the web, people telling us the government is to blame and you can't trust them, then after awhile you had groups saying the government was behind the conspiracies themselves, basically hiding in plain sight


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wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2009 09:58 am
I agree with Frank and Shapeless about always evaluating information whether it is from the Internet or from more traditional sources.

When studying a particular issue, always use a variety of sources for two reasons:
1. to corroborate facts;
2. to get more than one perspective.

Blatham once posted something to the effect that relying on a single source is deadly for increasing your knowledge or understanding.
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2009 10:05 am
I found the exact Blatham quote that I was referring to:
Blatham wrote:
Variety of sources and viewpoints is probably the fundamental criterion for learning, and singularity of sources is probably the fundamental barrier to learning.
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2009 03:26 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Quote:
Will the internet liberate or aid the control of knowledge?

This is a great question.

First off, I would like to be picky about the word "control". I don't think the Internet will control information at all. However, I do think that the Internet will have a great effect on how we treat information.

I have often thought that the next big revolution in the Information Age will come from mechanisms which classify the veracity of information within the overall flow of data.

Search Engines were the first tool to allow selective extractions of information from the flow, but they only extract based on terminology. Search Engines are beginning to incorporate extraction based on context and relevance, but so far there is no measurement of veracity.

Human beings normally assess veracity by collecting multiple views/opinions and then parsing those views against some pre-accepted baseline of knowledge. The scientific process uses Peer-Review for example.

The Internet is exacerbating a condition in which the volume of information greatly exceeds the relevance of the information. This not an entirely new problem, as anyone who has asked a crowd of people to answer basic science questions can see. Most of the information in any collection of sources is invalid. But in the case of the Internet, I think the ratio of invalid to valid information is greatly skewed.

Anyone who wants to get rich... just figure out a way to automatically assign some level of "veracity" to internet searches and the world will beat a path to your [web]door. Smile



0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2009 03:38 pm
bogosity: /boh�go�[email protected]�tee/, n.

1. [orig. CMU, now very common] The degree to which something is bogus. Bogosity is measured with a bogometer; in a seminar, when a speaker says something bogus, a listener might raise his hand and say “My bogometer just triggered”. More extremely, “You just pinned my bogometer” means you just said or did something so outrageously bogus that it is off the scale, pinning the bogometer needle at the highest possible reading (one might also say “You just redlined my bogometer”). The agreed-upon unit of bogosity is the microLenat.
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Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 03:47 pm
@wandeljw,
Are we not (at least in some sense) bound to rely on a single "source" for increasing knowledge or understanding? That "source" being personal bias / personal judgment.

At some point it all gets filtered based on one's ability to think independently / critically, thus given politics, religion, ecologic devastation (to name but a few) I suggest that en mass Man's abilities in that regard are rather weak.

In any case I consider the decentralization of knowledge to be a net positive.
OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 10:54 pm
@Chumly,
im very pessimistic so at first i thought " they are gonan censor the **** out of it"

the fiasco with the australian "firewall" for example..


but in the end the people who know the ins and outs of IT and internet/networking technology would very quickly create a blakc market for censorship-free internet.

but i doubt they can censor it anyway. noone would pay for it anymore.


but maybe they dont care about the money so much as the freedom of information. which they would like to eradicate im sure.


free info? bad bad bad!
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 11:07 pm
@OGIONIK,
Well so far the Internet is a bit like the new Wild West. But when search engines and filters become "intelligent", censorship and centralized control may prevail.

I'm not convinced by any means that will happen however!
OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 11:09 pm
@Chumly,
by the way

google.


best thing to ever hit the internet.

fcuk the stock price, its about the utility, google docs?

"free" is actually possible on the internet, want photoshop?

poor like me?


gimp. best thing ever found by me so far. an image editor
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2009 11:15 pm
I don't think that the Internet is any help to people who want to withold information.

One of many good things that can be said about it is that it is a democratizing force, since it lets anyone at all post ideas where everyone can access them. Before the Internet, how could one put an idea out there for everyone in every country to see, except with a book or magazine article?
 

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