Put your trust in a computer…

I’ve mentioned before the way that it is tempting to put your faith in the output of a computer program, particularly if it involves impressive graphics and displays words that you don’t understand.

But this phenomenon doesn’t apply just to computers. I’ve been seeing it in my students’ lab work too – where an instrument for measuring something already seems to be connected, how many of my students actually bother to check that the instrument is measuring what they need it to measure? If it gives an output, especially a digital one in a nice font, it has to be right. Hasn’t it?

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