From its inception the internet has always been about search…. searching for that answer, that perfect example, that one you love? But search has also changed the way we think about information, about primary sources and really about each other in wildly different ways that aren’t always, well….helpful.
In the wrong data steward’s hands the integrity of our records and information, both in the style and context in which it is delivered, can be easily and unfairly distorted. This has worsened over time and is horrifying when you consider the extent of “deep fakes,” “fake news” and other purposeful misleading propaganda being spread. A trend towards misinformation and bias is clearly what has happened over time with Google’s search results and it’s having disastrous unintended consequences on the pursuit and preservation of knowledge, wisdom and the humanities around the entire world.
With exciting new A.I. tools like Alexa and Siri becoming commonplace, search has entered a second renaissance and results have even more power to shape hearts and minds. Yet nobody, no one monopoly, should be in the business of brokering access to facts or opinions.
We need new tools that deliver intelligent results that protect the privacy of its users and promote resources which enrich our lives, communities and world around us without exploiting our vulnerabilities.
With proper regulation of monopolies like Google there’s going to be a better way to find what you “need” without being subtly persuaded how to believe and incessantly pestered about what you should “want” along the way. In other words, a return to search that offers a wealth of information minus manipulation.
True search results should provide access to knowledge you can rely on for personal, professional and academic growth. A search engine should steer you away from groupthink and encourage critical thinking, not bully you into becoming a “follower.” We need independent thinkers to reclaim their independence as information consumers, as teachers and students, as citizens, as moms, dads, brothers, sisters and yes, even as politicians. After all, the internet has the power to be the great equalizer in spreading knowledge. But that knowledge can only bring light to our present darkness if it can shine through the praetorian ideologues that have begun to guard its boundless prism.
Google was perfect for its time and helped both connect and open the world to itself. Yet now, as our collective tastes become more refined, we realize our search time is equally as valuable as increasingly for-profit algorithms. Rather than wasting another moment sifting through information curated through a corporate or political filter, knowledge seekers should demand to be able to create their own!