I can’t quite find the original study, which might not have been published yet.
Here’s my opinion:
Can you blame 65% of the survey sample for consulting Dr. Google? I really think they should have dug deeper into why people are avoiding the doctor’s office.
How does Dr. Google help, really? Or doesn’t he?
Here are some things the article didn’t mention:
People actually want a diagnosis. In the short run, diagnosis makes a person feel legitimized and validated. “No, it’s not all in your head. It’s a real disease so it’s not your fault.” They want this very badly, so badly that they’d rather cling to a false diagnosis than “We just don’t know,” which sounds too unsettling.
In my observation, one of the worst “diseases” that isn’t a disease at all is “oversensitivity.” I have known people who self-diagnosed themselves with this. The results are disastrous. Something akin to this is “empath.” That’s a baloney excuse disease, too.
Empathy is a skill that helps people relate to others. No, you can’t have an overabundance of it. In fact, most people have too little. They’re too busy, or too wrapped up in their own petty problems to care about others. Or they take the “boundary setting” hype a step too far.
Dr. Google is great at disseminating lies about “mental illness.” It’s permanent, Google says….but wait! There’s a cure. It’ll shorten your life but it’ll fix the nonexistent “chemical imbalance” you’re plagued with.
I do consult Dr. Google myself. Actually, I really should have consulted Dr. Google on July 7 of this year. I would have figured out rather quickly that the reason I was struggling to breathe was due to acidosis. I could then have quickly remedied the problem with a spoonful of baking soda. Instead, I took a trip to the ER which cost me thousands, plus nearly got me diagnosed with…not acidosis, but psychosis, which I certainly did not have. A spoonful of baking soda costs less than a penny.
Dr. Google doesn’t talk down to you. Dr. Google won’t court-order you or force you to do anything. Dr. Google leaves it all up to you. Maybe people like the freedom of being able to choose. Dr. Google doesn’t call the cops on you. Yet.
What is coming in the future? Will the government order Dr. Google to reveal what people are searching for? They already do this to people suspected of committing crimes. What if they start doing it to all of us?
Facebook has already data-mined people’s accounts for keywords that, statistically, might indicate impending suicide. We’re read accounts of this on Mad in America, horror stories where Facebook’s AI caused a unfounded police raid and trip the local nuthouse.
What if they do this to all your web activity? Or is that happening already? If I put “suicide” and “depression” too many times in a search, chances are, an ad for something like Zoloft will appear in the sidebar. Ask you doctor! Well, that’s scary enough.
What’s seriously funny is that I use my computer for work. Customers call me and ask about expensive items such as North Face jackets and UGGs. Sure enough, ads for whatever my customer wanted show up on any website where I don’t have ad blocking. So there.
We might know what people search for, but we don’t know the why of it. If anyone were to analyze my searches, they’d think I was a consumer of high-end products and designer clothing. Oops. Not quite. What other misinterpretations are going to happen? Yes, it’s scary.
“To go where no man has gone before.” But I think there have been plenty of times when we have gone where man should not be. We go digging in those gardens…for far too long. And sometimes, it’s too late.