The glut of information and social networking tools is not exactly strengthening our ability for critical thinking. On the contrary. Unfortunately it is often being exploited by bigots who continue to play on humans’ base instincts and polarize rather than clarify.
This post came to be as I was preparing an email note to my good friend Tommy Fernandes. What started as a conversation over a nice dinner has continued by email. It centered around the lack of critical journalism to bring key issues to the foreground. I think that when discussing any issue today there are 3 forces we need to deal with:
- high inherent complexity of the subject matter
- increased volume of information and
- Lack of time and/or knowledge
The combination of these forces makes it difficult for us (citizens) to relate to real issues. We need to rethink how we consume information and we must work to raise our standards and those of the media institutions we have. Not everyone can be an analyst, and hence we must push our elected officials to promote transparency and inclusion, so that we (who they represent) can make better decisions. We must not allow them to induce (artificial) complexity in the issues, that confuses.
Technology can help by providing easy-to-use tools for search, structure and visualization – but it can never replace context and critical thinking. I recall my January post on Nicholas Carr’s article and my comments on EPIC and am happy to post a link to an updated version of EPIC (for 2015)
More than ever before, our increasingly digitalised society needs critical thinking!!