Saturday, June 07, 2003

Information and Internet

In my post on Tuesday , I wrote something about Internet and misinformation. My dear friends gave me several challenging feedbacks.
David says
Information outweighs the Misinformation and like other media, everything is polluted with outright lies or subtle spin. …readers should beware because with freedom comes risk and vice versa and with security comes chains.
Hooman believes
Internet has a state of confusion, but user should have the discretion and then asks a fundamental question what is misinformation? What is information? Information to me could be misinformation to other people and vise versa.
Rezwan looks at this issue as a matter of freedom and liberty with some political attitude. He believes
The Internet is a revolution Reaching and communicating more and more people.
He suggests researchers should filter out the intended information from millions of sources and make information free and accessible to anyone who searches
Hooman, however, says
Another reality is that most of bandwidth of the internet is used to download porn, music, or movies, hardly any information
David mentions the exiting usage of Internet like weblog, even finding a phone number, checking the spelling of a word, getting a quick background an a topic for discussion, finding friend in other continents. So he tolerates a little misinformation if I need to

I think Internet has been a revolution in our communication. If I can talk to my brother in Europe or family in Iran every day and know what they are doing there is only because of Internet. I came to Canada by means of Internet! I could not do the majority part of my research in Iran without Internet since I had correspondences with researchers in England and states. Even we did common project. Without Internet it was not possible to have such smart blogger friends in the world to help me to think about my questions and concerns.

Here in Canada, within 2 weeks, I have done what I could do in Iran in 6 months. Finding articles and some online courses about statistics and the like. (though majority of these things are not possible in Iran since people have to use Modem for their connection!).
Nevertheless, there is a challenging issue. How can we search in Internet? There is no doubt that we need a "Smart Search" to find useful information. And learning how to search takes time and you cannot find every thing you really need. Last year in a conference in Spain, one of the interesting topics discussed in several sessions was how we can give reliable information regarding Breast Cancer to our patients. Since there are billion piece of information in Internet. So how can we tell them which one is important. In the west doctors tell their patients that they have to search for their questions regarding their disease and then make a decision (which is not an issue in Iran since Internet is not popular, say available). And this confusing for many people. I think you need skill to search for reliable and safe information. When we look at the political issues, we find more difficult situation. You need smart search, thoughtful interpretation through a critical point of view, which is not possible for majority of people. And I repeat Hooman's question what is information and what is misinformation?

PS: I quote what these guys said since I think they mentioned more important things than that I wrote!!.

(posted by Iman)

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