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Tuesday, 27 August 2019

The decline in Common Knowledge (5)

A recent NRC Future Affairs newsletter quoted the following from a recent article in The New Yorker, entitled "The hidden costs of automated thinking":
"A world of knowledge without understanding becomes a world without discernible cause and effect, in which we grow dependent on our digital concierges to tell us what to do and when." Note: URL in quote added by LO.

The above quote reminded me again of my earlier blog articles on "the decline in Common Knowledge": 2018-012018-22018-3 and 2018-4. That same NRC newsletter featured another interesting (Dutch) quote from another NRC article: "the more we measure, the less we know".

The above results in a dilemma: Why bother knowing stuff, when we can look for it? Moreover. this dilemma only gets worse due to our daily information overflow. We must select and ignore from this daily information overflow for our mental rest, stability and even "survival". The surge in sleeping disorders is amplifying our problem (eg, Telegraph-2017).

The consequence is that most of us have lost the common knowledge how to grow food, how to make clothes, how to build a house for shelter, and how to prepare uncontaminated water. Hence, we would not be able to survive lasting periods of upheaval.

Without electricity, we no longer can use our home and office computers and/or internet, and lots of food will be wasted when we open our freezer and refrigerator. Without fossil fuel, logistics and transport will come to a sudden stop and supermarkets will lack supplies. If Brexit would indeed happen then this event may already show a glimpse on human panicking.

The above scenario would be extremely likely in the event that the end of our current interglacial period would be followed by a new glacial period. Our interglacial period is ending much faster than scientists had assumed and/or predicted (eg, NewScientist-2019, ScienceDaily-2019).

I am convinced that humans are (much) more likely surviving climate warming than the start of a new Ice Age. Hence, the current direction of climate change is a blessing in disguise without people even realising that. A new period of global cooling would be disastrous for our advanced technologies and our just-in-time manufacturing, logistics and transport (eg, food, fossil fuel).

Last but not least, the decline in common knowledge - in combination with an information overflow - may be affecting our ability for filtering out fake news (eg, vaccine hesitancy).

The Less We Know feat. Micah Martin (2019) by Frank Zummo 
artist, no lyrics, video, Wiki

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise

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