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How Fast Is Knowledge Doubling?

 

(Photo by Helder Almeida • Source: ThinkStock)

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Scientists tell me that a bumblebee can’t technically fly because its wingspan is too short to support its weight. I guess someone forgot to tell the bumblebee. How many facts and opinions are we exposed to in our lives? Thousands? Millions?

Why Don’t We Fact Check?

If social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or others have proven anything, it’s that we are the most gullible people on earth. If it’s on the net we believe it. I saw a Facebook post the other day that said, “Things quoted on the Internet are not always accurate. ~ Abraham Lincoln.”

I hate to say it, but I’m sure a segment of our society sent that quote off as gospel to all their followers and fans. Some probably had no clue as to who “Honest Abe” was and others just figured that the Internet has been around their whole lives so it must have been here during the Civil War. The fact is we don’t check.

Is It Just Easier To Believe?

Are we just lazy? Or, are we overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge we must wade through to confirm the info?

We can find out almost any aspect of human knowledge sitting in a coffee shop with a smart phone, laptop or tablet. Can you imagine what the great scholars of the ages could have done with Internet access?

How much do we really know and how fast is knowledge doubling?

Knowledge Doubling Curve

You know there had to be someone keeping track of what we know or don’t know. Buckminster Fuller is the author of the “Knowledge Doubling Curve.”

His research revealed that human knowledge doubled every century up to around 1900. The end of World War II reduced that time frame to every 25 years.

As you might imagine some parts of our knowledge advance faster than others. Some technical advances are doubling every two years while advances in clinical knowledge doubles every 18 months.

Where Are We Now

We’ve come a long way since the 1900s when human knowledge took a century to double. Current numbers show that all of human knowledge is doubling about every 13 months. So whatever you knew last June is obsolete.

If you believe an IBM paper that shows increasing computer speeds and storage, combined with Internet input, all of human knowledge will eventually double every 12 hours. I am so glad I am out of school. Whatever I learn one day will be outdated by the following day.

Some Final Thoughts

Back in the 60s I was sitting in algebra class thinking to myself, “I am never going to use this crap.” Now I’m thinking, “I’m not using it directly but because someone did my wife can now text me to bring home some eggs.” Not sure I need technology that bad.

Albert Einstein once said, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot.” Can we have too much knowledge? Will there be too many options to even categorize them all? Will increased knowledge improve or imped our lifestyle?

I think I need a bigger brain to hold all this vast information. Or do I just keep everything on a Terabyte, Petabyte, Exabyte, Zettabyte, or Yottabyte flash drive that will soon fit in the palm of my hand. Are you ready to be smarter next year, or tomorrow?

Read or Subscribe to all Tom Egelhoff’s Daily Blog Posts by Clicking Here

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