The Collective Technology

One of the books I am currently reading is Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and Earth. In it is the age old sci-fi debate of individuality vs the group. There is an argument where the person or entity representing the group mentions that they don’t have records because all they have to do is search the collective memories of everyone on the planet but that this is no different than an individual looking information up. This got me thinking of how we are now closer to the group way of being than the individual.

Consider your phone, computer, or tablet. The phone or tablet are better examples because they probably travel with you. Inside your phone is a connection to the internet and through that a connection to websites like Wikipedia, apps for libraries, and music services. We hold in the palm of our hands the ability to look up and research anything we want. There has never been a time in human existence when information has been so easily obtained.

It is crazy to think about and it is crazier when you realize that most of this can be done for free. Obviously someone needs to pay to have a smart phone or tablet but compare the cost that would have been paid in the past to have access to that information.

We consider knowledge to be power and most every person walking around has access to unlimited knowledge. They have the ability with a few swipes of the finger to answer any question that can be asked. The sad part about all this is how we have chosen to use this technology. Rather than reading published scientific works people would rather take the word of the first friend or family member who expresses an opinion on social media.

The truth is out there and it has never been easier to find. The fact is that people don’t like looking for information. They would rather it come to them. Social media provides that gateway but as it does it closes off other gateways to true knowledge. We have all the information we could ever want or need so close at hand but so few people choose to use it. We have created a network containing the collective width and depth of human knowledge. All we have to do is use it.

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