How search engines are shaping the collective memmory


This is an off topic post, just some random thoughts in a sleepless night 😉

In Internet there’s everything, or almost everything for sure. Each second more bytes of new information adds to its traffic , we barely scratch the surface, even the search engines also scratch the surface, because we are dealing with high numbers and at those order of magnitude our limited nature start to fail. And while the previous statement can lead to the safe idea that the human knowledge is preserved in internet for good and the shake of future generations (catastrophic aside that someday humanity awake without power to run computers :P) and while the popular knowledge is that “Internet never forgets” I cannot avoid to tho think that things are not so simple:
Internet DO forget, and more importantly, we DO forget, and the way we interact with that source of knowledge is not very different to the way we interact with our own source of knowledge: our memories. And in that sense, Indexing engines and search engines have the last word and are actually shaping what Internet forgets and what remember.
More or less we all have almost every moment of our life recorded into our brain (well, according to brain plasticity many actually fade over time) but suppose for a moment that our brain don’t delete old memories at all, even in that case, to our conscience, we gradually forget the vast majority of that information because of the way we seek into our memories doesn’t bring that to light, is there, just that almost useless. The same is with internet: despite the fact that some old websites may be running in a single PC without copies and suddenly that PC is broken thus information vanished, converted into heat of a shortcuiting PC, or simply replaced/deleted and no old copy left, and that may actually account for “internet plasticity”, there’s the fact that statistically speaking, almost nobody look into results from Search engine that are 2-3 pages away from the first results, and those results are directly related to the ranking algorithm of the Search engines.
If a search engine use a ranking that gives more weight to the number of visit of a website (well actually they use a complex optimization algorithm involving much more variables), eventually those old web sites may still be around, but are forgotten by people, and while mass in general can take optimal choices, not always is the case and for that reason exist “mas media control” and false information can easily hide true information simply by been on top of the search engines over time, hence welcome the situation of being thirsty in the middle of the sea.
Gradually Internet forgets its own information according to the “conscience” seeking algorithm dictated by search engines filtering and us.

Cheers

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How search engines are shaping the collective memmory

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