Thursday, December 15, 2011

Some Fine Avocados!

I was curious how to store avocados, so I used the miracle of modern technology to ask all my Facebook friends, or at least the ones who bother to read my statuses. Of course, I knew that I could look the information up directly on the internet, so why did I ask people? To emphasize this point, as I was walking to school it occurred to me that I should figure out how to store the avocados, and I thought of asking FB, then I wondered why I wouldn't just look it up, and spent a few minutes wondering about that. So it was a thought out choice, even if I'm still not exactly sure why I did it.

One initial thought was that it helps one judge the reliability of the information. After all, how do I know if FoodFreaks dot net has any idea what should be done to store avocados? Note: I do not know what is at the url FoodFreaks dot net, so explore that at your own risk. On the other hand, people with whom I have interacted and will interact with again in the future develop some measure of trust, yes, even my sister.

On the other hand, I don't think that is entirely accurate. I actually have developed a relationship of trust with Google, through past associations and expectations of future interactions, much the same as another human. So if I were to get a site recommended by Google, I would feel fairly confident that the information was fairly accurate. The same could be said of Wikipedia, with which I have a fairly trusting relationship.

No, I think the biggest reason that I ask humans rather than internet sites is that, while we may have a relationship, there can be no sense of sociality with an internet site. When you ask a human they share information, which is fundamentally different than when you ask a computer and they simply present information. I am actually tempted hypothesize that we are not yet adapted to the sheer volume of information available online and we actually prefer it to come in by dribs and drabs from personal sources. This seems like it would be the start of a very interesting conversation with an evolutionary biologist or psychologist, or maybe a sociologist. But, more importantly, if I ever ask you something that I could definitely look up myself, it is probably because I want some human interaction with you. And, on a related note, I don't ever remember being irked when looking up information online to answer someone else's question.

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