22 Apr 2010


In old days, elders were highly respectable because of their knowledge.

Not any more. Now is the age of information technology. Youngsters only need the skills of learning and problem solving. As for factual knowledge, it has long been outsourced to Google and Wikipedia. A click on the computer leads to much more information than any scholar can possibly memorize. Don’t you realize the intelligence has been rising over generations, a phenomenon known as the Flynn effect?

Yet I found a recent conversion among our pediatricians interesting.

“Who taught the students Turner syndrome?” asked a consultant.

“The Professor himself,” a resident answered, “Why?”

“During the examination today,” the consultant explained, “the students were asked to counsel a mother of a child with Turner syndrome. I am actually not too annoyed that many candidates knew little about the condition. However, quite a number of them told the mother that though they did not know the syndrome, she was welcomed to read more from the pamphlets outside.”

“How come they did not ask her to google it?” another colleague chuckled.

Although the importance of factual knowledge has been downplayed, I suppose I still prefer to see a doctor who can explain rather than refer me to a pamphlet.

On second thoughts, they were not so bad.

“I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.” - Socrates

1 comment:

  1. Many doctors nowadays would search the online database before handing you a prescription even though they're 90% sure that they know what your problem is. I prefer a doctor who trusts the internet more than his outdated knowledges. The way we do education must be reformed. We should teach kids how to find materials efficiently as well as how to think rationally instead of forcing mostly-outdated info into their brains. If there's a medical program that can make decision better than any human doctor, then there's no point for a doctor to make decision anymore. Things have to be changed, but obstacles are there, because too many people with power would hate to see changes.