VERACITY OF KNOWLEDGE
‘Wikepedia not completely dependable’ is Supreme Court had to say to caution courts and adjudicating authorities. The level public domain knowledge has gone up in not only in people’s minds but also with legal eagles, can be understood from this open caution. The presumption thus is that the world takes Wikipedia knowledge to be divine and so is the case with large number of other digital sources, which throw up at the first click of the mouse on a Google search. On the other side we have largest number of users, who believe whatsapp university as the gospel truth. What a world of knowledge we have landed in, so ironical of the Information Age.
In the digital information age, what is thrown to the winds is the authorship of data / information. We are not able to ascribe it one source or one person, who can be made accountable of. The churning of data and its transfer on variety of modes and a variety of ways can put any layman or a person of average knowledge into jeopardy. Today the biggest challenge to knowledge is its veracity. It would be scary to think of a situation where every piece of data or information becomes suspect. If it were for the inherent flaws of system, it can be rectified over a period of time, but if bad actors come into play, it becomes a different story.
How to deal with the veracity challenge of digital knowledge is never discussed or taught in schools and colleges? As in the print days, anything in print was sacrosanct, in the same manner, today anything Google search throws up is treated as data, information and knowledge. How do navigate the digital space do the best of advantage, cross verifying, cross referencing, independent sites enabled investigation and variety of other tools for this purpose should become the tools of modern age. Effort for get information and knowledge, is what we have forgotten in today’s world, and whatever we can lay our hands in a split second, is what makes sense to the user.
The hypnotic reach of ChatGPT can be the outcome of the same mindset. The sources and narrative are both left to the machine and user becomes the recipients. Can we become passive recipients of knowledge and mark it as our original or authenticated by us and use it for professional and personal uses. The Black Box algorithms for sure cannot be the savior of the world, they can certainly take us on a trajectory, we cannot retrace from. We have lost our love for original documents. What is original? The observation of the Supreme Court makes it amply clear, “these sources, despite being a treasure trove of knowledge, are based on a crowd sourced and user generated editing model this is not completely dependable in terms of academic veracity and can promote misleading information.”
WE ARE IN RUDDERLESS INFORMATION AGE!