This post is first and foremost a follow-up on the previous. It is an example how that idea of knowing everything, and knowing all the sides to an argument is becoming a popular trend within the new generation of the 00’s, called by some – The First Globals.
Now John Zogby, a respected pollster, who has written a book about these guys – The Way We’ll Be, has many things to say about them, and you can read the book if you want, I don’t find the immediate need to do so, and could do with a few reviews and blogs to help shape my thoughts about this. Somewhere along the line, I will be speaking on behalf of my own experience with the global spirit within me. So enjoy 🙂
The First Globals are obviously the children of 20th century infrastructure, communications, politics and science. These guys know 300 brands by the age of 3, and use Wikipedia as a reliable source of knowledge. They do not have much religion or political ideology(is there a difference?), and believe in the society, and the man beside them instead of the man above them. Ideas and paradigms of everyday life are interchangeable and intertwining. Changing from one lifestyle to another is nothing, if that is what benefits everybody else, since you are a part of everybody else. They are multicultural, and have seen the world from different sides of the globe(both realistically and metaphorically speaking).
At first glance, this seems chaotic and irresponsible, but doesn’t every generation do so? Somehow each generation still seems to evolve further and grow way beyond the previous one, the 20th century is our best documented example of this. That’s one thing, the other is that there is The Internet, which is just as chaotic as this generation. At times it even seems that it is the Internet that has shaped this generation, and not the other way around, to which you can apply the Heidegger aspect, that technology forms us as much as we form technology.
So these guys are stupid. Don’t know anything to the core about any single thing, however they know a little about everything, and getting to the core of something, for them is just a matter of a small time frame of research, since they know how to find everything, and how to sort relevance from irrelevance. These guys are mean machines, or rather mean people. Let’s go back to the Matrix. You remember the scene on the roof, when they have to fly the helicopter?
Neo – “You know how to fly this thing?”
Trinity – “Not yet”
After which she makes a phone call, and is programmed to be able to fly the helicopter. This is one aspect rarely looked atwhen analyzing the Matrix. But I imagine these Globals exactly like that. They know precisely where and how to find what they need, when they need it, and do so quickly, and otherwise they keep an overgeneralised idea of how that specific task is done.
Now I, as a part of that generation notice the horrible truth of this difference with just my parents. Let me show this with a recent example. My father had been experiencing chest-pains for a few days, and it all just got worse, so he went to the doctor. They checked his blood-pressure, oxygen levels etc., and found nothing, and told him it was probably just a stretched muscle. The night after he couldn’t sleep. Now I am no doctor, but by simply asking him of the symptoms, and using Wikipedia, I was able to not only determine that he must have had either some ash in his lungs, or a small blood clot in the upper part of his lungs, but also to give him an advice on how he could breathe easier, which actually gave him the ability to sleep through the rest of the night. The day after we went to the doctor again, and my father got a shot against blood clots, which made him feel much better.
Now I got an A in biology in high school, that’s barely enough for this sort of analysis. I have never been interested in medicine, and believe in milk and honey as a cure for everything. I have a rough idea of how the body is built up, however I know where how that info, when I need it. I know how to educate myself in a short matter of time, in order to solve one problem or the other. This is the fundamental distinction that is the apperant result of the Internet, or perhaps I should say Google.
So wait a minute, has Google defined a generation? Yes, everything that has happened defines what is happening and will happen, so in that aspect everything defines everything else(a bit of good old philosophy here). But Google is not alone, YouTube, Blogger and Wikipedia have just as much been a part of this, but Google is the most prominent one.
Google gives us the link to the information that we need when we need it, or at least that’s what we like to think. The fact is, it doesn’t sort accurate from inaccurate, it only sorts popular from not popular(amount of links to the page, some other aspects are at play to, but this is the primary source of Google’s success), but the most popular answer is not always the correct one. Yet, I guess it gives us a feeling of satisfaction to find most popular answers, since, that way, we are connected to the popularising society, which has a major part in Google’s success, think of how easy it is to get up to date with the news via Google.
Secondly popularity of a page depends heavily, and at times, most importantly, on it’s advertising. Just think about how many links are displayed in advertisements in contrast to regular text. A more advertised site pops up higher up than a less advertised one(unless people really love it). This is why the advertising market loves Google, it has no respect for good and bad, and only what’s popular and what’s not, it’s almost disgusting how I, and the rest of my generation love this pig.
P.S. I’m not saying that Google is all evil, it’s a great way to keep up with the world, but is no reliable source of accurate knowledge, in that sense I’d prefer Wikipedia.
Many regard Wikipedia as an unreliable source, well I’ve got an argument against that. In fact I would regard Wikipedia as a source more reliable than Google, which paradoxically is regarded as the better source. The way Wikipedia is written, is that people interested in the specific area of life go in and write an article about it. Other people interested in knowing this information can go in and read, and add their few words, if they know something. Anything that is disagreed upon can be changed, these changes are tracked, and can be reverted if so is regarded right by someone else. This in respect creates a source that is built by the common knowledge of the society, where accurate information comes face to face with inaccuracy, and at times wins and at times looses. However what’s important to understand here is that accurate information is compared to inaccurate information, it is not popular information that comes face to face with unpopular information. Wikipedia is bias, has nothing to do with the dirty advertisement market. And a lie has no chance what-so-ever to come up if it is to a single person’s benefit, only if it is to everyone’s, well then, is it really a lie?
The ironic part of this is, that people that write these articles take the information found via Google. Hopefully they know more about the subject than the reader, and have sorted accurate from inaccurate, but at times it is not so. And when it isn’t, and inaccuracy slips in, the chance is, someone else will correct it at a later point.
So in a way Wikipedia does what Google doesn’t, sort good from bad, using an interesting technique called Human Computing. No algorithm has yet been developed that can understand information and thereafter sort it, Wikipedia is such an “algorithm”, it just uses human power to overcome it’s challenges.