Exponential creation of knowledge

The advancement of science has led to the exponential creation of knowledge. We know more now than ever before and this increase will continue.

Exponential creation, knowledge, science, ignorance

As knowledge is created exponentially, the number of questions we have grows exponentially as well. We’ve always asked questions – we used to ask the people around us, the yellow pages and other such analog tools. With the digital age, we’ve begun asking those questions to search engines and digital assistants. It is estimated that we do 3 trillion searches every year across our various search engines alone. With the advent of smart personal assistants, this number of questions will go up.

The gap between knowledge and questions is ignorance and this gap grows exponentially as well. So, as science and technology advances, the more questions we’ll have and the more ignorant we’ll be.

This means we will likely never have the likes of a Ben Franklin or a Leonardo da Vinci again – all this knowledge makes it very hard to become an inventor across domains.

It also means that answers will have an increasingly (perhaps exponentially?) less important place in society. Robot personal assistants will be able to search massive troves of information to give us answers. However, great questions will be scarce. It is great questions that lead to the advancement of science and our human race. Great questions won’t mean answers. They’ll mean more knowledge, some understanding and a lot more comprehension of our immense ignorance.

Science, life, knowledge, progress – they’re all about the journey.

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. – Isaac Newton


HT: The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly

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