The age of cheap information threatens to drown us in complacency. Knowledge will always outweigh information.
If Brazil's treasures burning teach this era anything, it should be to renew a dedication to the cultivation of knowledge in pursuit of wisdom.

Wikipedia and Google delude many into thinking all human knowledge has been made available to our immediate access.
This is a dangerous lie.
Any scholar will tell you of the vast amount of documents and artifacts completely unavailble online, or indeed impossible to easily scan or study online.
And this silent wealth pales before the oral and analog culture which, in a McLuhanian dimension, can not be simply digitized and maintain integrity.

Show thread

@Shufei I would argue, too, that there is something about combing through hard documents, in dusty dark spaces, that stimulate your brain to make connections not otherwise attained by browser searching.

The research is definitely beginning to back this up, showing that paper is a mnemonically superior medium.
I certainly share the love (and serendipitous necessity) of browsing the stacks. When libraries go automated retrieval systems, it truly hurts us as a society.


@Shufei when I was a journalist, investigative projects were dependent on examination of paper, of seeing associations and connections you wouldn't see otherwise. data is nice but has caveats. with a browser search you replace your own brain and eyes with someone else's unknown algorithm sweeping unknown data which, as you correctly point out, is limited. To me, nothing more fun than to go through Registry of Deeds books looking for hidden shell corporations! cheers, g

· · Web · 1 · 1 · 2

A good point to stress. These algorithms can both intentionally obfuscate and obfuscate via the "wisdom" of crowds, intensifying biases and received opinions.
I'm further concerned about the dubious fidelity of much OCR texts. Many Chinese manuscripts have enormously high error rates when so scanned, I've found, rendering them only useful as a first run search, and certainly not for reading.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Server run by the main developers of the project 🐘 It is not focused on any particular niche interest - everyone is welcome as long as you follow our code of conduct!