Google is Turning Bloom’s Pyramid of Cognitive Domain Upside Down

Google is Turning Bloom’s Pyramid of Cognitive Domain Upside Down

Without a hike under weightless feet and instead with children in heavy tow, I rarely find the muscle or clarity (claro!, en Espanol) to have a thought of any weighty reflection. The one exception, in general, is a 5 minute period in the morning after waking. If I have a moment of peace with a shower in the morning, a thought will come to me, and if I don’t get such a luxury, I’m liable to be cranky and thoughtless the rest of the day. It is an all or nothing proposition.

My thought this morning was almost of Gaudi’s quotation on geometry mentioned in a previous post on our travel blog. But instead, I thought more on just the word “quotation”. Its use is one of the most common English “mistakes” (English is so malleable that no doubt the mistake has since been adopted by Oxford and Webster). Most people use the word quote for what really should be called quotation, as the word quote is really meant to be the action, not the result of qwibbing a quote, er… quotation.

Alright, I’m still not to the thought that visited me this morning. When I tried to find the interesting quotation Gaudi made on being a geometrician, I went to google and started typing “Gaudi geometry quot….” Hmm. Is it quotation (correct) or quote (common)? Do I search for what is right, or what I know will be more common?

So we know the world is flat. We know the grand equalizer that the Internet has become. And we know the huge enabling democratizer the net is. Everyone can have a voice that can be heard by anyone around the world. In the span of just twenty years, these concepts have gone from ideas to actuality, steeped into the psyche of at least two generations. That’s not a new thought, so much so that I’ve wasted a paragraph of your time just pointing it out.

But the thought this morning was the realization that besides the democratization of people, the net is even more about the democratization of the immaterial world. To a search engine, the driver and entry point to this immaterial world, it is the majority for any data/concept/belief that becomes the answer. This seems to be a more powerful impact in the long term to society than the access to people in a flat world. And sure, given my western laced belief in the inevitable democratization of people, the net is just a vehicle o that inevitability for societal democratization, it is the democratization of their ideas that seems both a far more powerful concept, and one that is not necessarily quite so inevitable.

We laughed in the early days of the net when enough linking caused the top search result for George W Bush to be something inappropriate – an early sign of failure in the system that has since been corrected. But these more subtle errors will no doubt be a loosing battle (baring the ability of NLP to compensate, which is the case for the simple case of quotation).

So when it comes to the Armenian holocaust, or the 9/11 conspiracies, or the brilliance or lack thereof of Hunter S Thompson, or the improper use of words, thoughts themselves are fighting their own global election campaigns on the web, to which the majority will always win, thanks to the power of search being the only feasible interface to engage with all the worlds information.

And lastly, the one other issue is that so much thought that is out there is not original, or even original synthesis within the sphere of one self. So much out there is self supporting transcription to maintain self-consistency, where so much expression in the net (news as a great example) is hanging out in the bottom-most of layer of Bloom’s pyramid of cognitive domain. But sadly, the search engine has great difficulty in distinguishing between these levels, and instead opts to defer to quantity over quality. (Yes, I know Google strives to overcome this with newer iterations of PageRank – a formidable task).

And when transcription and quantity win… Well, I don’t know what that world looks in like in the long run – mostly because for the last three times I’ve sat down to think about the ramifications, the kids have had some melt down that needs attending to… So a thought captures, but not synthesized. I, too am struggle to climb the pyramid of cognitive domain.


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