English / Writing

The last time i actually signed up to a forum for the sole purpose of asking a question was probably in 2008. In those days, Alltop is still a hip new thing, Guy Kawasaki is the guy to follow on Twitter, and Twitter, well, Twitter was still fun.

I remember having multiple forum accounts and being pretty active. Not anymore. These days, anytime i do have a question about anything, i can just enter my question on Google, and the answer is there, usually asked by someone who seems to have a bit more faith in his peers than i am.

The last sentence is really what sparks the idea about this post. I discovered that while working on this new job that i have, with the scale of people that came in and with me having to juggle priorities around, i have to think pretty quick. When i can’t find the answer to something technical, usually google is the place to go. And usually the first search result already contains the answer. Whether it’s from Stack Overflow, Quora, Reddit, whatever. There’s always this one guy who actually want to ask people the answer to something that he doesn’t currently know.

I then realized that what i did was actually just repeating something that i actually don’t know if it was true or not. Well, 9 times out of 10, it should work, you know, assuming. But i noticed that my faith in Google’s algorithm has reached this peak where the machine no longer just provided me with the information to curate, but it also has decided for, or at least help me reach a quick conclusion of what is a true information and what is not.

Like in a more personal setting, for example, if i was stuck with 10 people, 9 of them i know for sure are more knowledgeable than me, i’d still have more skepticism than what i hold against my googling result. I google, therefore i know the answer. But the people answering those questions are still people. They have their faults, their mistakes, their biases. And i sure as hell won’t trust someone named DragonPHP in the real world.

It’s the same thing with Facebook. You came on there, and someone posts a long-ass tirade about politics, and you think to yourself, who is this? I never met this guy once in my life. But what do i or you know, right? Facebook algorithm has decided that his post was important enough to appear on top of your news feed, so they must be right.

The funny thing about this as well is how easy we (well, I) will unconsciously prefer the result at the top and will think that they are definitely the better ones. If the result at the bottom is different, well, something must not be right with their answer. The top answer is the right one. It must be, right? I mean, how can it be wrong?

The Author

I write stuff, A recovering RSS feed addicts.