There is an amazing paradox happening right now. Due to the massive growth of the Internet, people have access to more information at their fingerprints than can ever be consumed in a thousand lifetimes. However, it seems as if misinformation and lack of understanding are proliferating just as quickly as new Facebook accounts are activated. In fact, people almost seem to have a worse understanding of the world than their pre-Internet grandparents had!
In this book, Head in the Cloud, author William Poundstone explores the question of whether all this online information is only serving to make us less informed. Online information is easier to skim, but hard to dive into deeply. Poundstone specifically highlights a phenomenon known as the Dunning-Kruger effect which can lead people to overestimate their own level of knowledge in a subject area.
“Those most lacking in knowledge and skills are least able to appreciate that lack. … The Dunning-Kruger effect requires a minimal degree of knowledge and experience in the area about which you are ignorant (and ignorant of your ignorance).” (p.10 & p.12)
In short, a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing.