Knowledge, something that people of our generation have stopped giving significance to, is a treasure. Many notable economists, analysts, and philosophers have warned time and again about the drawback associated with the outsourcing of memory and knowledge to the internet. However, one begins to wonder if knowledge is really a need of time in today’s fast-paced world which runs on the power supplied by search engines and big data powerhouses.
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a renowned economist recently shared his thought process. He stated that one of the most common queries in the search engine was ‘how long is my penis?’ Any Luddite would say that a ruler would have a better answer as compared to the search engine. However, digital natives consider every opposer of technology as men living in the Stone Age.
Interestingly, with the rise in search engines, knowledge has become scarce. In many surveys conducted amongst the general public, it was noted that more than 50% of the population having an age less than 30 years old was either completely unaware or mostly ill-informed about topics that ranged from pop culture to quantum physics. It is highly unfortunate that the population is not even sure about the largest ocean of the earth, uninformed about the first artificial satellite sent in space, and is completely clueless about who made necessary inventions like the bulb, telephone or radio.
This leads one to ponder whether knowledge really matters. Anthony Downs, another notable economist coined the term of rational ignorance back in the 1950s. According to him, there are many instances where acquiring certain knowledge is needless. For instance, most of us don’t bother acquiring knowledge about car repairing or accounting. And if faced with a problem, we consult the experts of that field – and this is completely sensible.
For the past few years, our generation has been outsourcing both memory and knowledge to the internet. One might argue that such a phenomenon is good; however, it comes with a serious drawback. The cloud is making us critically ignorant rendering us unaware about things that we do not know.
Each day, we make thousands of decisions based on the knowledge that is accessible in our head and recent surveys have noticed that people who have little knowledge make poor choices when it comes to making judgments using a rational thought process. As people used to say, common sense is not so common. However, in today’s time, it would not be wrong to say, that it has become a rarity.
Knowledge is not wisdom but it is definitely the founding pillar of wisdom.