Yesterday’s Knowledge is Today’s Data

A few days ago I had a hard time leaving the office; Snowden’s phone intervention at Austin’s SXSW got me to thinking…

We used to love to know. We used to care about knowledge inheritance, we used to be passionate about it. We used to buy books, read them and discuss upon them. We used to take pride in how fast we could answer correctly any given questions, we used to feel ashamed for not having the right answer from the top of our head, at the respective moment.

pyramid

Sometimes I get the feeling that today, knowledge is saturated in historical memory and becomes displaced by information; I cringe at the idea that today we have memory without history, that today we simply have data.

I find myself frowning and raising my eyebrow noticing that after all these years, after such evolutionary process, data triumphs over knowledge. Are we really closing our eyes at the catastrophe that’s just around the corner?

Surely this is not the end of the world and civil society will not collapse; we will still go to restaurants and cultural shows, we will still take our children to schools and invest in their education. Our lives will abound in stacks of information, in any form we want, on whatever device we want, to serve any interest we have. But we will have lost context and meaning, won’t we?

The outsourcing path we chose in business to protect the financial gains resembles the path we’re taking in the way we use the information, in the way we store and use it: we outsource our memory to the cloud and to the multitude of web sensors all over the world, but what are we gaining?

Surely I am not the only one who thinks that this procedure, this path that we’re so confident in, is turning us, every day, into dull, flat, less interesting people with a blunted intellect.

It’s been extensively discussed about the unbearable, not to mention rude habit people have these days: to hold their devices handy when out with friends, acquaintances, or business partners. I used to condemn this unmannered gesture until I came across the person who was unable to tie two words together without help from his buddy Google.

I got to thinking: are we losing our thinkers, is the world becoming an information hoarder?

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