Internet provides wealth of information, though not always useful

Khadija Saifullah

One of the great challenges of this century is to find ways to wring truth out of the plethora of information on the internet. We are swimming in a vast sea of information. However, at the simultaneous risk of “drowning in ignorance,” said Richard Paul Evans, much of that information is of infinitesimal value. At best, it encourages, and at worst, it propagates.

On March 7, the UT School of Information hosted its 2015 Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, where around 50 participants enriched the Wikipedia experience by updating articles regarding the topics of art and feminism. This event plans to link the gender gap and perceptions as well as some articles’ narrow perspective. This includes restating history in articles in which the accounts of women’s contributions to society may not be well known by popular belief.

It’s so simple to rely on search engines for our solutions. The smallest issue can be searched on Google and result in a profusion of information about it. The multiple viewpoints about an issue are portrayed differently depending on the media outlet and person(s) behind it. The media will emphasize one idea over another and confuse the viewer.

Faced with this confusing stream of conflicting information, most people will not know what to think and will get on with other things over which they have some control. Our collective inability to wring sense from the data  leads to ignorance, apathy, and disconnection from world issues.

In the infinite sea of information, researchers have privileged access to substantiated knowledge, which has been passed down in the light of education. Such knowledge can be a lighthouse in a sea of misinformation. To extract myth and falsehood, it should be reviewed and edited by a variety professionals.

This wisdom is crucial if we are to navigate our way toward a thriving and sustainable human civilization.

A good researcher is not only someone who contributes to the body of peer-reviewed knowledge, but also someone who can get that knowledge to where it is most needed so that it can have an impact on real problems, someone who helps to create spaces where all of those involved in the research can learn and transform their perspectives.

With the continuous expansion of the Internet, we become as potentially vulnerable to ignorance as we become capable of being inspired. Therefore this reiterates the importance of analyzing information and distinguishing falsehood from validity.

To the rest of us students, use the research and education acquired at this world-class institution to think about the bigger picture. Do not fear failing, because that is where you will find the window to more opportunities. Engage and collaborate to increase the reach of your research and ideas and use your creativity to inspire others.

Saifullah is a neuroscience sophomore from Richardson.