Blog post

More Data will Lead to More Ignorance

By Manjunath Bhat | September 21, 2019 | 1 Comment

Disclaimer: Gartner blogs present an analyst’s individual opinion and is not peer reviewed. Should not be treated as official Gartner opinion as such.

This essay describes how humans will live in a world that is abstracted away from its true nature.

Summary: When every digital tool aims to create a simplified and tailored view of the world, the collective reasoning based on these views is anything but ‘fact-based’. To claim that we are making fact-based decisions because they are based on data will be the greatest fallacy of all times.

The modern hunter-gatherer society comprises of people that gather facts for survival but rely on machines to reason. People consume facts in the form of data. However, data can be mutated, transformed and altered – all in the name of making it easy to consume. We have no option then but to live within the confines of a highly contextualized view of the world. The personalized yet narrow view of the world is further exacerbated due to the constraints of bounded rationality.

This phenomenon will lead to the modern equivalent of “To err is human, to forgive is…”

To Know is Human, to Reason is AI

Digital disruption will make people increasingly more ignorant about how the world works – only this time, technology is the cause, not the cure. The more technology we overlay, the more abstract the physical world becomes to the common man. This has two implications:

  • Inability to comprehend the true nature of reality
  • Making decisions based on “facts” when they are only digital interpretations.

Friedrich Nietzsche famously said – there are no facts, only interpretations. The difference between interpretation in the digital age vs ages prior is that interpretation before was unaided, left to the basic devices of human reasoning and understanding. Digital technologies not only augment human reasoning, but tends to influence that reasoning. This can be both good and bad.

There are no facts, only interpretations – Friedrich Nietzsche 

All scientific progress made so far to unravel the mysteries of the universe will now lead to new mysteries that can no longer be unraveled. Why? Because there is nothing to unravel. “Fake news”, “Distorted Reality”, “Intelligent News feed” are merely manifestations of this new mystery. Digital creators create a view of  the world for the rest to consume. Humans will mistake the simplicity of that view for its absolute reality.

In attempts to create a better understanding of the world, Digital innovations will instead obfuscate human judgement. This will unintentionally and unwittingly undo the scientific progress that enabled a deep understanding of the pristine nature of the world. When technology itself is the cause, technology has no incentive to find the cure.




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1 Comment

  • Manohar Shankar says:

    Put todays scenario in the right perspective.