When the chips are down, you don’t need opinions you need facts.
There is certainly no shortage of opinion in our social media fueled world. But as technology increases I wonder about the general decline of expertise. Look anywhere online and somebody will tell you they have the answer to any problem for the price of just a few dollars. That can be entertaining but should not be confused with expertise.
Expertise is essential in today’s world, and the responsibility that comes with it is significant.”. Lawyers like myself often use experts to determine if a case has sufficient merits. Before accepting the case, we want an unbiased opinion of the facts from a true expert. It is not uncommon for a client to come to a meeting seemingly knowledgeable about a particular matter. Usually that is based on a bit of google research. Undoubtedly, it is helpful for them to have some basic knowledge of the subject. But being knowledgeable is far different from being an expert. Knowledge is more general and can be learned in various ways, like the internet, while expertise is a specialized skill. Obtaining expertise requires years of education, training, and experience in a specific field. Being an expert also comes with a significant responsibility. It requires the individual to have a deep understanding of their field, but more importantly, to reliably share that expertise with others.
In today’s society, fake experts have become prevalent with the advent of the internet and artificial intelligence software. Ask ChatGPT to compose an article and in mere seconds it will. Does that constitute expertise? I don’t think so. But make no mistake, it can be very helpful in collecting information, the problem comes in verifying that information and that is where an true expert’s experience comes into play.
If experts were to disappear, it would have significant consequences for society. Experts provide specialized knowledge, and ensure accountability. Without experts, there would be a lack of credibility, as anyone could claim to be an expert without the necessary knowledge and skills. This would lead to a loss of trust in institutions like our legal system. Decision-making would be based on opinions rather than evidence. Experts also contribute to the development of society by providing innovative solutions to complex problems. Without experts, progress in various fields would be significantly hindered.
When you find yourself in a pinch, it is certainly helpful to become more knowledgeable. Just remember there is no substitute for an expert when you need one.