Thinking Out Loud!: Knowledge Increasing?

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There is just too much stuff going on. What I mean is that life is jam packed with stuff all the time. To Do Lists, chores, errands, job, responsibilities and keeping up with the election. Every time I tune into the TV, a political candidate is trying to make minced meat out of the other. Kids fighting on the playground –everyday! So I decided to quietly slip away from all this action and “noise” and take an online class. Antiquities and Fraud, How to Develop real Feng Shui or Learning to get Airline Tickets anywhere in the world for free. There were too many choices! In fact, there seem to be too many choices with everything we do in life- where to eat, what to wear, what TV shows to watch, what activities to engage in- you know what I mean.

Life is complicated. Actually, Confucius stated that “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated”. The scientists tell us that the human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons. Therefore, sitting on our shoulders is the most complicated object in the universe. This brain of ours is expected to process and guide us through our existence. However, our knowledge is like a little island in a great sea of non-knowledge. Ants have the most complicated social organization on earth next to humans and they seem to do well until someone steps on the ant hill. But ants are resilient- they are single minded and they keep on doing what they do best. Did you know that the total biomass of all ants on Earth is roughly equal to the total biomass of all people on Earth? We are outnumbered!

Knowledge is accelerating too fast and we have to find a way to put the brakes on or we shall all disintegrate in the advancing velocity. Buckminster Fuller created a “Knowledge Doubling Curve” which suggested that knowledge doubled every century until 1900. By the end of World War II knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Fast forward to 2016- knowledge is doubling every year and the prediction is that knowledge will double every 12 hours in the not too distant future.

In a recent lecture at Harvard University neuroscientist Jeff Lichtman, who is attempting to map the human brain, has calculated that several billion petabytes of data storage would be needed to index the entire human brain. The Internet is currently estimated to be 1.3 Zettabytes of which Google has indexed roughly 10-15 exabytes of data. An exabyte equals 1 million terabytes. The 1.3 Zettabytes (1.3 trillion gigabytes) now stored in cyberspace amounts to 339 miles of fully-loaded iPads stacked to the sky. The numbers involved are astounding especially when considering the size of the human brain and the number of neurons in it.

This explosion of knowledge takes me back to my opening comment- it is too much and humans are experiencing a renewed sense of singularity to escape the pressures of coping with all this knowledge. Concurrently, I am wondering how fast wisdom is growing. Although on a parallel plane, is it keeping up with knowledge?

2017-02-22T15:12:21+00:00 February 18th, 2016|Uncategorized|