Data and Information

Memorial to Irish Potato Famine victims
Famine Memorial in Dublin

Between the years 1845 to 1849, the Irish Potato Famine* caused the death of over one-million people in Ireland and Great Britain. The cause was the dependency on only one crop - a particular type of potato that was chosen for its high yield. This dependency on one crop is called a monoculture and is very risky. When the entire crop was devastated by a disease called late blight, the people starved. It ended when, among other things, Ireland diversified its crops.

An analogy can be made to how we get our news and information. If we only have one source of news and information and that source is tainted, we can no longer choose wisely when we vote or interact with others. We're stuck in a monoculture of information.

This lecture encourages diversity of news and information sources and offers suggestions for selecting them. It gives you hints about how to deal with contradictory information. It encourages you to develop trust in sources but to never let that trust be absolute.

* Encyclopedia Britannica - Great Famine (will create a new browser tab)