Why It Seems Like Only Our Technology Is Getting Smarter
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Politics and Activism

Why It Seems Like Only Our Technology Is Getting Smarter

An explanation for the misunderstandings that persist, even in the great Information Age.

Why It Seems Like Only Our Technology Is Getting Smarter

Have you ever had an argument with someone and wondered how they could be SO wrong?

You probably think to yourself, “How do they NOT know this simple thing? They can just look it up!” What usually follows is simply cutting that person out in some capacity because you don’t feel it necessary to try to educate someone.

Indeed, it seems that even in the great Age of Information people misquote or simply misunderstand simple facts. The thing is, however, what we are observing is simply a more exaggerated iteration of human nature.

Humans seek out the familiar because it is easier to understand. In the “old days” this showed by us staying in the same general geographical locations because we already had systems there in place to make us feel comfortable. Why would we move far away from home when we have family and friends in the area? Even in simpler evolutionary terms, leaving our set clumps made us susceptible to unknown threats.

People have become more willing to venture farther out as technology has improved and allowed us to push the physical limitations of our connections with one another, but our tendency to seek out the familiar has not suddenly disappeared.

It is at the crux of this quest for the familiar that many internet disagreements sit. Though we may move and change our surroundings, we still carry with us biases and thoughts from our own lived experiences. This in and of itself is not a negative thing. In fact, I would wager that bringing many different viewpoints should allow for richer debate and greater shared knowledge bases for everyone.

So why doesn’t it?

The answer to this is the greatest downfall of the internet: it is an unregulated mass of information. There isn’t a great gatekeeper at the entrance to the internet making sure everything that is posted is even factual, let alone contextualized.

Because of this, we get articles like this, which point to the fact that more white people die from police brutality by number, whereas there are articles like this, which aim to utilize actual statistical methods to analyze a phenomenon. It is easy to say that one source is better than another, but that opinion does not preclude the fact that both are in the public sphere.

And the existence of both interpretations combined with the existence of confirmation bias — the tendency to seek out information that confirms what we already believe — means that there is not only a good chance that the person I’m arguing with is not coming into the argument with the same base of knowledge, but there’s a damn good chance that they have the same information but think itmeans something different.

The truth is that this is going to continue to be frustrating, and we’ll continue to feel like people who don’t understand certain phenomena are simply choosing to be dumb, but that mindset does not lead to progress.

It is not any person’s JOB to explain something from their point of view to another person, but by forgoing that conversation you must also recognize that you’ll never reach a place of understanding either.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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