According to the Knowledge Doubling Curve up until the year 1900 human knowledge doubled roughly every century. By the time WWII rolled around collective human knowledge was estimated to double about every 25 years. Today, on average because databases vary in growth depending on the subject, it is estimated that the overall knowledge base doubles every year or two. Some optimistic estimates say that approaching 2020 our knowledge base could double in days or even hours.
My only question is how many people are contributing to this knowledge base? I would be willing to bet the percentage of people who contribute to the great big library floating on cyber clouds is very small. For example, of the people you have heard say something like, “We can get to the moon but we can’t make really good instant coffee,” how many of those people actually know how to get to the moon?
It’s funny to consider how many Americans take credit for that astonishing achievement and yet probably cannot explain how a kite lends itself to lift. To paraphrase Sling Blade that’s not funny ha-ha.
Eight years ago or so studies about adult literacy showed data indicating that Americans, even with college backgrounds, had declining reading proficiencies in regard to just basic everyday reading skills. Studies conducted more recently in late 2013 go on to raise serious concerns about America’s standing in the world. Among other statistics the 2013 studies showed that the U.S. ranked 16th out of 23 countries in literacy and 21st in numeracy proficiency.
So, are we becoming a country of dumb and dumber? Will the expanding base of human knowledge pass us by? If it does how many of us will know that it happened?
Hey, gotta go now, Duck Dynasty is back on.