“I’ve never thought about this before!” – I love it when this thought comes to my mind. It happened again this morning while I was listening to the radio.

Needless to say that overall the universal accessibility of information, through web search engines such as Google, is a fantastic thing and certainly to the advantage of mankind. But, of course, there are also downsides such as the availability of terrorist handbooks (this is probably still a fairly mild version) or the occasional errors in Wikipedia (which are then quoted without any verification of the facts). This is both obvious.

But for some reason I had never thought of another domain: medicine. Now every person with an internet access can browse through thousands of articles about all kinds of diseases and their cures … without having any clue about the applicability of the statements to their own conditions or having any proof of the expertise of the author. The radio show this morning gave a few cases of people just asking Dr Google for advise, without questioning or understanding the results. Obviously, this is not very advisable …