humani nil a me alienum puto

random rants about news, the law, healthcare law, economics and anything I find amusing

The Health Care Blog: The Hive Mind

John Halmaka from the Health Care Bolg makes an observation that, at first blush, is obvious.  But when someone my age (or older) really thinks about it, is quite profound.  How much has our lives, thinking, analysis changed due to the web?  I remember pre-www/pre-google days, when I would rush to make the 6pm fed ex deadline (or 10pm if I took it to the airport) for a report I was finishing.  Within a few months, I could attach the same report via email.  It was wonderful and cursed.  That same report, with a deadline, got done at 6pm.  But with email, the client knew I could turn even more by midnight.  So, often, the day just got longer.

John observes that the factual recall he requires is augmented by the web, since if he knows enough about the fact, he can fill in the rest by using the web.  If nothing else, it reduces the ‘transaction cost’ in a remarkable and profound manner (like email did for communicating final work product) to clarifying facts he wishes to use for his analysis or other communication.  Of course, since vast portions of the web have no editor, relying on those facts may be fraught with risk.  And he observes that some of the skills he has honed relates to being able to navigate what is likely to be trustworthy, and what is not. I’m not sure about the 80%.

I’ve delegated the management of facts to the “Hive Mind” of the internet. With Web 2.0 we re all publishers and authors. Every one of us can be instantly connected to the best experts the most up to date news and an exobyte multimedia repository. However much of the internet has no editor so the Hive Mind information is probably only 80%  factual – the challenge is that you do not know which 80% .

via The Health Care Blog: The Hive Mind.

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