The Internet is dysfunctional with respect to wisdom and knowledge building.
The Internet is not coming close to reaching its potential for building humanity’s knowledge base, our understanding of what it all means, or our ability to make smart choices based upon this understanding. This affects our emotional and mental wellbeing, and our capacity for self actualization and self transcendence.
The problem is that the Internet is mainly about proliferation of content rather than building knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. People pump out content to gain followers. Much content is produced just for machines to read — think SEO. New content is often uninformed by previous content and the links are based on what the page author knows and who they or ad networks want to promote.
At its essence, the web is transient — new content is actively discussed for a short time. Though it remains available, the conversation rarely continues or picks up. Conversations are necessarily haphazard because of the structure of the containers that hold them — think about how challenging it is to glean different perspectives, logic, and sources from a Facebook comment stream.
Even Reddit which seems more oriented towards knowledge sharing shuts down conversations after six months by “archiving” them. Reddit — like the comments on Facebook and any forums — is unstructured so it challenging to get a full sense of the community’s perspectives and their virtues. Furthermore, Reddit encourages anonymity, which ensures a lack of transparency with respect to the conflicts of interest that may exist for contributors. Hence, the rampant troll problem on the platform.
Wisdom Tech would keep content and conversations alive, by creating spaces where people can have an evolving and structured conversations about stuff that matters to them. Wisdom Tech would enable smart choices by individuals and communities. Wisdom Tech would enable people to observe their own thinking (for example, to better understand their confirmation bias) and how the community is thinking about an issue or across issues.
Wisdom Tech would be a game changer.
For emotional and mental health.
For human knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.
For the prospect of humanity making smart choices about its future.