This disparity is profound. And, it scares me to think that the disparity online might be even larger than the physical world. While everyone with the Internet has equal access, not everyone has an equal understanding of how to use that access. And, as a result, some people are living in an info-apocalypse and others are living in an info-utopia. If we don’t take it upon ourselves to learn the skills to manage the online environment, teach those we love, and spread this knowledge to everyone, I fear that society will become even more polarized.
This well-known example points to a powerful idea: Disconfirming evidence — evidence that proves your existing ideas wrong — is exponentially more valuable than confirming evidence. Scientists throughout history have realized this. Science grows by what is proven wrong, not what is proven right.
The only way to make this potential info-apocalypse into a utopia is to change our approach to media from a reactive to proactive one. We cannot passively have faith in the stream on our news feeds, default settings, and notifications to guide us. The companies that control these do not have our best interests in mind, and they have broken the public trust. These feeds are designed for one thing: Keep your attention for as long as possible in the short-term and long-term. This business model is fundamentally conflicted with our own life goals.