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Defend the Truth in the Internet Age

Last week, I wrote a post:

Did you know where the title "Simplicity Is the Ultimate Sophistication" came from? Many believe it stems from Leonardo da Vinci, and a quick Google search would confirm that assumption. Like many, I was planning to quote it in my post. However, as an author, I understand the importance of accountability and ensuring that I verify any objective facts before publishing them.

So I asked ChatGPT:

Who said "Simplicity Is the Ultimate Sophistication"

Here is his response:

The quote "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" is commonly attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. However, it's important to note that the exact wording and origin of this quote can be a subject of debate, as is often the case with famous quotes.

The uncertain tone only served to affirm my doubt. So after delving into extensive research, I finally stumbled upon a source that provided the most compelling answer:

Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication

TLDR, the origins of the phrase appear to be from 1931, written in a play by Clare Booth Luce

the height of sophistication is simplicity

In 1946, art critic Leonard Thiessen penned a variation of the phrase

the ultimate in sophistication is simplicity

The aphorism should not be linked to Leonardo da Vinci until some justification is presented.

I’m glad I didn’t publish the unverified information.

Is Prisma really slow

After Vercel launched its storage, I noticed a tweet comparing the speed of two popular ORM Drizzle and Prisma:


No matter whether you are familiar with Prisma it’s quite normal that you will get the conclusion that Prisma is very slow. For people familiar with Prisma, it looks even more convincing because it mentioned JsonProtocol, which is the preview feature of Prisma specifically to address the performance issue.

However, I happened to be the person more than familiar with Prisma due to my work on the ZenStack toolkit built upon it. I am aware of their recent accomplishment in significantly improving cold start times by 9x:

How We Sped Up Serverless Cold Starts with Prisma by 9x

Therefore, leaving alone the comparison, I think Prisma should be way faster than that. While scrolling down, I came across a response from the author himself:


It makes sense for me this time. Meanwhile, I couldn't help but wonder why, despite all the efforts made by the Prisma team, Drizzle still maintains a noticeable speed advantage. The author quickly provided an answer in response to @sabinthedev , a member of the Prisma team.


I appreciate the author's persistent pursuit of the truth. However, I don’t know whether you noticed the reaction data for the original tweet and the following two replies:


Considering the significant number of people who only read the original tweet without examining the replies, it is not difficult to anticipate the conclusions they might draw.

The challenge of discerning truth in the Internet age

The advent of the internet has revolutionized the way we access and share information. With just a few clicks, we can explore vast troves of knowledge, connect with people worldwide, and stay informed on a multitude of topics. However, alongside the benefits, an inherent challenge has emerged. As the volume and diversity of online information grow exponentially, it is becoming increasingly difficult to discern truth from falsehood.

The challenges of fact-checking

The internet offers an overwhelming amount of information, making it a double-edged sword for fact-checkers. The democratization of content creation has blurred the line between reliable experts and self-proclaimed authorities. False identities, anonymous accounts, and the ease of manipulating digital footprints make it challenging to ascertain the authenticity and expertise of individuals or organizations. The absence of fact-checking mechanisms and the viral nature of unverified information exacerbate the problem, as falsehoods can rapidly spread before being debunked.

One-sided, exaggerated, and extreme cases are more easily transmitted

Extreme cases often trigger intense emotional responses in individuals. Whether it's shock, anger, empathy, or awe, these intense emotions propel people to share such cases with their online networks. The inherent human desire to connect and engage with others on an emotional level drives the rapid transmission of extreme content, as it resonates deeply with individuals who feel compelled to share and discuss it.

The internet thrives on novelty and uniqueness, continually seeking out content that stands out from the vast sea of information. Extreme cases, by their very nature, tend to be extraordinary, rare, and attention-grabbing. When users encounter such content, their curiosity is piqued, leading them to share it with others, seeking validation or sparking discussions around these exceptional instances.

Algorithmic amplification

In the present era, nearly all popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Youtube, employ personalized recommendation algorithms. In fact, even the search result of search engines like Google and Bing are personalized. While this personalization aims to enhance user experience, it unintentionally reinforces our existing beliefs and preferences. As a result, we often find ourselves surrounded by like-minded individuals, isolated in echo chambers that echo our own opinions and perspectives.

This effect is further amplified by the confirmation bias of our human beings, the tendency to seek information that confirms our existing beliefs. Algorithms feed us content that aligns with our preferences, reinforcing our biases and leading to a distorted understanding of reality. This inadvertently reinforces the division and polarization within society as we become more entrenched in our own worldviews. One extreme example(Sorry for using it 😂) is that the all-star basketball player Kyrie Irving once publicly stated that he believed the Earth was flat because of the rabbit hole of YouTube:

Kyrie Irving sorry for saying Earth is flat, blames it on a YouTube ‘rabbit hole’

What should we do as a software engineer

The benefit of being a software engineer is that we are supposed to have the mindset that there is never one size fits all best solution. It’s all about trade-offs. So my only suggestion is that before publishing or sharing anything:

  • Objective information. Take a little bit more time to fact-check and verify the information utilizing multiple sources and cross-reference information like we normally do in our professional work.
  • Subjective opinion. Adopt an open mindset and provide additional context, and clarify the specific scope of the application for your opinion. Try to achieve Charlie Munger’s rule

    I never allow myself to hold an opinion on anything that I don't know the other side's argument better than they do

Lastly, remember what Spiderman was told:

With great power comes great responsibility

P.S., We're building ZenStack, a toolkit that supercharges Prisma ORM with a powerful access control layer and unleashes its full potential for full-stack development.

Top comments (3)

fobabs profile image

The kind of article that should be written a million times

jiasheng profile image

Thanks! This would definitely encourage me to write more😄

renhiyama profile image
Ren Hiyama

I really loved the presentation of the topic. Nice examples, nice research. Very well made 👍