29 January 2006

Can we trust the internet?

L. Motl has an interesting post Influence of blogs and antiblogs, where he discusses how the proliferation of blogs leads to a dissemination of false information throughout the internet and that many people tend to believe that if a blog is popular then we can trust it. In fact, this is true for any homepage in the internet making it difficult for ordinary people to know which information is reliable and which is not.

Another aspect of this situation showed up last year when I gave a popular talk on cosmology as part of the activities for the International Year of Physics. At the end of the talk a school teacher came to me and told me that he likes to tell his students about the big bang, dark energy, black holes and other topics, but he is never sure if all this is science fiction or plain science. He gets all his information from newspapers and the internet but he is never sure about its seriousness. Of course, I told him that there are sites we can trust, like the Wikipedia, New Scientist, Nature and so on. This shows how serious the lack of reliable information can be and also that we have not only to write about science but also to show the places where reliable information can be found.

1 comment:

Alysson said...

De fato, nao eh tao dificil garimpar o que eh bom e o que eh ruim da Internet quando se eh, em alguma medida, um especialista -- mas, para o leigo, a multitude de informaçoes disponiveis, desde textos excelentes ate absurdos completos, pode se tornar um labirinto intransponivel. O Google eh certamente uma ferramenta incrivel para se obter informaçoes, mas nao tao eficiente para *filtra-las*. Ensinar a separar o joio do trigo, na internet, eh tao importante quanto ensinar as pessoas a ligar um computador e navegar!
Por enquanto, acho que a Wikipedia eh uma candidata muito seria a ajudar muito nesse quesito... a fornecer, gratuitamente, um material mais confiavel para as pessoas pesquisarem... vamos torcer para que continue funcionando tao bem...

E parabens pela iniciativa do blogue! Eh realmente um formato que se encaixa como uma luva ao trabalho que voce vinha fazendo na sua pagina. Meus votos de sucesso!

grande abraço,

Alysson