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Evolutionary information seeking: A case study of personal development and Internet searching (14 Jan 2006)
Sometimes, Senja discussed the opposite of development: personal attributes becoming worse. This phenomenon I prefer to name ”regression.” On a microscale, Senja thought that her first search for jokes was a failure, and actually increased her uncertainty. On a macroscale, computers have deteriorated human memory, in Senja’s opinion. The rationale behind this idea was that we no longer need to memorize everything, because we know that certain information can be retrieved with a machine. But what to make of the extract below on Web searching?

#13; I: Has the information retrieval become more easy or difficult?

Senja: Well, it has both. It’s easier in a way, in that one can find there. But then you find more there and perhaps even vain [stuff]. And the more you learn, the more difficult it is again. (Macro 477–481)

Senja’s reply presents a rare paradox: an activity may incorporate both regression and development at the same time. To be precise, advance on one side caused retrogression on another side. In retrospect, there is a striking regularity in this theme: Senja always viewed regression as an outcome of Internet utilization. It would be enlightening to know why she did not even once see the relationship the other way around. Could it be that regression inhibits Internet searching? Only further research will be able to answer this question.
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Article URL: http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue11_1/kari/index.html

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