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Every adult admits their world is filled with biased information. Advertising is obviously aimed at convincing us to buy stuff we don’t need. Sometimes it’s an expensive watch, a car, or some lemons, and we probably encounter thousands of these kinds of appeals for every one that actually influences us enough to spend our money. Politicians also try to get us to vote for them and we tolerate their duplicitous spins on what they say, because we hope their opponents will catch them in obvious lies.

What about medical truths? Should we take some drug, or eat some special foods, or do some special form of exercise to maintain our health? How can we get reliable information without having our personal information bias filter the information we encounter, only to verify that we are already right about everything? Some people go directly to Wikipedia as a reliable source, because it is juried by well-intentioned people, and they keep the site as filled with accurate information, and free of bias, as possible. But, it’s boring.

At a recent group discussion, Google was reported to be used by almost all my interlocutors, but they complained that the first page is so heavily loaded with commercial stuff, and gamed stuff to get top ratings, that it takes too much effort to bother with. What was recommended was to include the term “edu” as part of the search string, because that limits the pages to universities and avoids some of the commercials.  Several mentioned their love of YouTube, but it too has become so laden with popups, and ads that it has become so annoying as to be hated and now avoided.

Well, I love those sites, and realize they need to make a profit to cover the cost of providing their services. But, when I discover their owners are now billionaires, it seems that they could have delivered a better product at less cost to their customers. Sites that clearly give total value without intrusion, such as Craigslist and Amazon, are great for their customers, but they are destroying many classic business models. Destruction of people’s livelihoods is sad, but that business model does create a more efficient world economy, so it is good for almost everyone else. I suspect that the purveyors of information like Google and YouTube may be at serious risk of being destroyed by people who choose to distribute the same information, but to do so in a less intrusive way. The truth may win in a while.

The pirates who can somehow become legitimate will eventually triumph.

 

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