Intellectual Authority in the Age of Wiki

March 8, 2007

Peter Nicholson, president and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies, believes that "intellectual authority should have a close correlation with expertise" and is "comfortable with hierarchies based on merit," but discusses at length the paradigm shift of the Wiki age in this week's Chronicle of Higher Education. He observes a decline in deference to church, doctors, politicians, and intellectuals, and argues that it is "a nearly universal feature of advanced societies," which move up Maslow's hierarchy to seek self-esteem and personal fulfilment. Google and Wikipedia are often regarded as "good enough" tools to manage information overload, although the information they return may not be completely accurate.  Colleges must focus on teaching students the skills of discovery and discrimination.