The advent of the internet came with a lot of perks. It enabled instantaneous communication worldwide, facilitated the exchange of goods and services, and hopefully, soon, it will be the foundation for the exchange of tangible value (i.e. digital currency).
This ability for an individual to tap into the sum total of information collected by human beings has already endowed us with more opportunity than we could have ever imagined. In other words, the internet has become humanity’s knowledge bank -- one that anyone can tap into from, theoretically, anywhere.
However, this boon came with its drawbacks. For example, even though anyone can access all the information they need, the sheer amount of it has made it incredibly difficult to differentiate between truth (Signal), and everything else (Noise). This has made identifying Signal from Noise, one of the most valuable skills in every facet of life.
Bad news is, in my experience, there isn't any silver bullet to learn this skill. Good news is, I've learned it (to a modicum of competence), by acquiring heuristics. And, I believe there is a process -- albeit, a long-term process -- that one can follow to develop these same heuristics.
You see, it is next to impossible to identify Signal from raw Noise. But, what is manageable is to discern the quality of Signal’s source. Important to note: when you're young, chances are you won't have the foundation to differentiate between good and bad sources. Thus, to begin with, you must depend on the more traditional measures such as wealth, educational degrees, reviews, etc. Over time, as you learn from these people, you will start to identify the commonly emergent patterns of Signal.
Thus, kickstarting a feedback loop that goes like this:
1. Absorb information from sources verified by tried and tested traditional metrics.
2. Observe and study the commonly emergent patterns from such patterns. For example, Signal-producing people tend to independently consider an issue from all angles, before coming to a conclusion.
3. Reflect on these patterns, codify them into your own personal heuristics to identify Signal and Signal-producing people.
4. Absorb information from other such sources.
5. Refine your heuristics by honing in on the consistently accurate ones. Keep track of why specific ones work/don’t work in specific situations.
6. Use refined heuristics to better identify Signal-producing people.
7. Absorb information from them.
8. Ad infinitum
Now, you might be wondering why all this is relevant for someone covering the topics of Web3. Well, this is so because I have experienced first-hand how daunting it may be for someone trying to make sense of it from scratch. So, imbibing this mentality will help you wrap your head around the forthcoming novel concepts that we will cover, and help you push through the inevitable difficult times.
Sit tight, keep an open mind, and your life could change forever.
Sid Sanghvi is an avid Web3 enthusiast, and the author of Don’t Fall Through the Cracks. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.