Everyone’s an expert now
But where’s the expertise?
Here’s the thing: Now that knowledge is universally accessible, it doesn’t take much more than a few hours of surfing the interwebs to glean insight into the most intractable conundrum. You can even acquire a valuable new skill by watching a few YouTube vids on the subject; DIY-as-a-Service.
It’s no longer rocket science to learn all about, well, rocket science. Which makes everyone an instant expert; and happy to demonstrate their expertise on Twitgram and FaceApp. Except they’re not. Informed opinions are not the same as unassailable facts. Faced with an inexhaustible smorgasbord of facts, opinions, analysis and speculation – and fake news – we’re often seduced by confirmation bias, rejecting anything that doesn’t reinforce our internally sacred beliefs.
What complicates the issue is that we’re encouraged to ignore conventional wisdom, and become mavericks, in our quest for innovative solutions and new business models. Especially when the old paradigms no longer work. In those situations, often the ‘expert’ can tell us all the ways something will fail – but they fail to see how it might work, if we can forget the past!
“In the mind of the beginner, almost anything is possible!” said one sage, and that’s true, though you might have to fail many times before you find the formula for success.
But rejecting dogma isn’t an excuse for turning ignorance into a virtue. Don’t let the Dunning-Kruger effect sneak up on you – that’s where you know just enough to think you know it all – and respect real expertise for what it can bring: A shortcut to more informed decision making and better solutions.
Like Richard Feynman, I’d rather have questions that can’t be answered, than answers that can’t be questioned; but let’s not make a hero out of stupid. Even if they are sometimes right!
Links to related stories
- ‘The Death of Expertise’ Explores How Ignorance Became a Virtue – New York Times, 21 March 2017
- EVERYTHING YOU ASSUMED WAS WRONG – Duke CE, June 2020
- Ignorance is not bliss: The dangerous politics of anti-intellectualism – Pennsylvania Capital Star, 16 January 2020
- MINDBULLET: Learning to unlearn (Dateline: 21 September 2018)
- MINDBULLET: All is true (Dateline: 12 September 2023)
Warning: Hazardous thinking at work
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