04 August 2008

How not to get info from the web

At the VGI meeting in Santa Barbara in December, we were trying to talk through the ways that we assess whether or not information (particularly but not exclusively spatial information) is reliable enough for decision making. Examples included how differently you might consider a restaurant recommendation from a friend than one anonymously posted on a website.

Fast forward to this weekend. While listening to NPR's On The Media, I heard Mark Phillips talk about Quantum Leap (and the Ziggy) and how it resembled the way we can use Blackberry's and iPhones to ask questions online. Focusing on ChaCha, he described new ways of getting information that you know to be unreliable (but you do not necessarily know to be wrong). His closing comment really hit home:
Let's hope people still ask strangers for directions, friends for recommendations, and experts for opinions. Otherwise we'll all look like Al from Quantum Leap.

1 comment:

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