The internet changed things. It changed how information is shared. We went from knowledge being parked away in books at the library, to information being available at your finger tips, on your phone, while you’re in the bathroom. People have more free access to information than ever before. And it’s use to ARPANET!
Is that good? For consumers, yes! For producers? Maybe not.
I wonder what computer jobs were like in the 80’s. When the know-how of how to create a database schema was parked away inside a lengthy tome that only the senior engineer could grok. Now, that information, the answer to that same question you’ve had and would have spent days searching for the answer to, is now available in an online catalog. Got a problem? Go to google, type in your query.
Google changed things. Google indexed the internet. Google is like the computer catalog in the library.. except Google is slowly becoming the front end to all human knowledge that anyone cared to enter into the internet.
So information is transferring.. from humans, to machines. stackoverflow.com represents a corpus of knowledge that far superceeds what a single programmer could ever learn in his lifetime. It is the accumulated knowledge of what many programmers have learned in their lifetimes. And it doesn’t forget. Except for mod-delete.
So people just drop all they know into the internet. They get a +1! Thanks! But not paid for their contributions, which could potentially reach 100’s of people, some of which are corporations, businesses, places that will make money on what you’ve given away for free.
Now who gets paid? Let’s see.
- Google: Advertising
- Sites that host content: whatever they manage to make on ads or the sale of other services
- Actual Internet Contributers: 0
So, what’s the deal? Smart people are not that important if their knowledge, ability to learn, ability to retain knowledge is not important (since machines cover that..)
But what if smart people all of a sudden stopped existing? Say suddenly, all your savants just stopped being savants, and all you had were non-nerdy people. Then the machines would stop learning :). The indexes would have less to index. And maybe humanity wouldn’t progress as quickly.