Jack Uldrich
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Nanotech, Google & Unlearning

Posted in Nanotechnology


As a professional futurist who has written two books on the topic of nanotechnology, including The Next Big Thing is Really Small: How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future of Your Business, but is now interested in how the skill of unlearning can help society better prepare for the future, I couldn’t but help notice this article: Does Google Alter How We Think About Nanotech.

According to the research, people searching the term “nanotechnology” on
Google are being directed toward more healthcare-related searches. Now
there are legitimate questions about the relationship between
nanoparticles and human health and these concerns shouldn’t be
dismissed, but it is equally problematic that people’s perceptions about
nanotechnology are being based on popularity. As the article states: “Sergey
Brin and Larry Page created Google to sort search results, in part,
based on how popular particular sites were. For science information,
that means that surfers may be offered the most popular results rather
than the ones that best represent the current state of science”

As I wrote earlier today, exposing yourself to unlearning is difficult,
and it isn’t made any easier if search engines are steering people
toward “popular” information as opposed to the most scientifically valid

To this end, it is worth keeping in mind this wonderful quote from
Galileo: “In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not
worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”

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