How the net has de-stabilized knowledge

Peter Bajomi-Lazar, Budapest Business School The world wide web has eased access to information for all, and yet it has de- stabilised knowledge. How is this possible? A very brief overview of the history of knowledge tells us that the rise in the number of information sources has been coupled with a growth in the unreliability of information. Users of the net may rightly feel they live in an era of misinformation and disinformation, online propaganda and fake news, conspiracy theories and urban legends.  It was 75 years ago, in July 1945, that Vannevar Bush published his now famous paper in the Atlantic magazine, presenting the idea of the ‘memex.’ The inventor sug- gested to link distant computers in order to create a huge network where “wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear.” The new technology would make information accessible for all and serve the whole of society, he argued. The intelligence thus gathered and catalogued would stabilise human knowledge. The world wide web, created in 1990, is based on the principles outlined by Bush. But users of…

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