Head of Financial Advisor Services, EMEA
and Vice President
Dimensional Fund Advisors Ltd.
As much as I value the unfettered access to information the internet provides, I recognize the potential harm that too much information can cause.
Take, for example, a friend of mine, who was experiencing some troubling medical symptoms. Typing her symptoms into a search engine led to an evening of research and mounting consternation. By the end of the night, the vast quantity of unfiltered information led her to conclude that something was seriously wrong. One of the key characteristics that distinguishes an expert is their ability to filter information and make increasingly refined distinctions about the situation at hand.
For example, you might describe your troubling symptoms to a doctor simply as a pain in the chest, but a trained physician will be able to ask questions and test several hypotheses before reaching the conclusion that rather than having the cardiac arrest you suspected, you have something completely different. While many of us may have the capacity to elevate our understanding to a high level within a chosen field, reaching this point takes time, dedication, and experience. My friend, having convinced herself that something was seriously wrong, booked an appointment with a physician. The doctor asked several pertinent questions, performed some straightforward tests, and recommended the following treatment plan: reassurance and education.