Context Lost: The Google, the Borg and You

the-borgI’ve Googled. You’ve Googled. We’ve all Googled.

And if you know anything you’ve probably been Googled into obsolescence. You may not know it yet, but you have.

Do you remember when if you needed to know something about something you tried to think of someone who might know?  If you couldn’t think of anyone, you asked others if they knew anyone who knew something about something. Do you know anybody who knows this? Do you know anyone that knows that?

People became known as experts or in the know.  These people were good repositories of knowledge. Going to these people fostered good community and communication. It was personal. Social.

Sure you might learn more than you wanted to know, you might learn nothing or you might get referred along.

Well, forget all that. Your knowledge has been assimilated by the Google Borg.  All your practical knowledge, caveats and wisdom are bound for the rust heap. You are obsolete.

Just Google it.  Just YouTube it.  The capabilities of this Google are awe inspiring and yet frightening at the same time.

In my ancient manners the other day I recommended someone talk to someone about something they wanted to know. “Nah, I’ll just Google it” was the response. Though it’s true this could have been as much of a product of the smart phone generation where no one actually speaks with each other.  The two-headed monster of social media (which is neither social nor media) and Googling is an imposing figure.

Now, I’m not Luddite, at least not yet, and don’t plan to go around smashing Google server farms to protect the trade union of knowledge experts. But I do wonder about the minds of billions of people who rely on the Google for learning. A whole world relying on unsubstantiated, contextless facts.

Now it’s true that even before the Google sources of information could always be questioned so that’s not as much of an issue for me.  What concerns me more is the lack of context.  Each quest for knowledge on the Google ends up with an isolated, factual answer that provides few caveats and little context.  No systemic approach at all. It’s one thing to believe in the interconnectedness of all things. It’s another to actually understand what that means.

Where will this lead us? I already struggle with those who can’t see the big picture. What happens when there aren’t enough people who know there even is one? A world of Google knowledge and standardized test education has created a society that isn’t concerned with a loss of context because they don’t even know that context exists.

It’s possible it’s inevitable.  I don’t know. I have to think this is an inevitability that should be resisted. But how do you encourage resistance against something people don’t understand? Perhaps they can Google it.

About joegergen

To evoke a smile. That's all. Author of "Methane Wars: A Fable" and "Lear's Fool" as well as various poems and some these painting things as well.
This entry was posted in Freedom, Personality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Context Lost: The Google, the Borg and You

  1. Murray Lynn says:

    Excellent post!

    This is where the entire tech world loses credibility with me. Big Data, keywords, social media, business intelligence, and a host of others are all excellent tools. But they are just that, tools. Without context and real social connection they are meaningless.

    • joegergen says:

      I am totally with you on that, Murray. We need to salvage the concept of context. Otherwise as a colleague of mine likes, these tools just enable us to faster and more efficiently do the wrong thing.

  2. smonaghan119 says:

    Brilliant piece here my friend. I work in the field of data and social media and all that crap and while I write on it because the pay is acceptable, I look at the world like it is a big helpless fish that got dropped in the middle of a desert.
    Days pass and more than ever there is a larger reliance on technology and data that leaves the world, from my point of view, as a group of a few intelligent people and a raging mass of idiots.
    It’s terrible, people forget how to think for themselves, solve problems in the moment, and the result is these sluggish cavemen minded people who click “compose” type type type “I have problem, what i do?” *Click send* “Now we wait for solution”
    Meanwhile, the world burns.
    Great post.

    • joegergen says:

      Thanks Sean. What happens in a world where so few can solve their own problems? Nothing good, I am sure.

      • smonaghan119 says:

        We are heading to a point where things are just going to collapse. I view it like this, go back 20 years ago and what we had were self-reliant people who worked hard and broke their backs to accomplish things. The very idea of hard work has been tossed out the window, corporations are completely run by ‘friendly relationships’ over professional ability, meanwhile we have technology taking over in place of personal capability, the end outcome: a hole of pure chaos, we’re halfway there.

  3. joegergen says:

    Reblogged this on Once More Unto the Change and commented:

    I think this has implications for change as well.

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