Are Search Engines Good Enough?

On Intuit’s The Fast Track blog, the blogger Eva Rykrsmith reveals that with two tools “Google and a laptop” she figures she can:

“… do the research myself, collect all the relevant data points, and come to a reasonable and logical conclusion independently. This technique is quick, simple, accessible, and—the main reason I stick with it—it usually works wonderfully well.”

After considering my book’s Chapter 2 (What Advice Does For You), Eva lists six benefits of advice and reconsiders whether search engines are good enough.

I think that search engines can actually provide most of these benefits, except social engagement, which strengthens human relationships for future mutual aid. It’s just that they don’t provide those benefits so well, because good advice, except for straightforward tasks, depends critically on one’s circumstances and goals, which vary greatly from one person to the next.

Some very general examples of such tasks:

  • What college should I attend?
  • What major should I study?
  • In what geographic area should I start my career?
  • Should I change jobs?
  • Should I change careers?
  • Should I get more education? Part-time or full? Online or off?
  • Should I buy a house now?

If making good, effective decisions is the goal, rather than, say, exercising one’s freedom, making one’s own mistakes, and living through the consequences, then advice helps and search engines are not good enough.

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