I like to tell my kids that the more I learn, the more I come to realize how little I actually know. I came across this incredibly insightful article about the progress of technology and society and want to share it. It covers a lot of material, but I wanted to highlight the last section first because it addresses the difference between questions and answers. You can read the rest of the article, by Kevin Kelly, one of the founders of Wired Magazine, here:
Quoted directly from the article:
Science is expanding our ignorance
One of the things that science does is a really curious thing. Every time we use science to try to answer a question, to give us some insight, invariably that insight or answer provokes two or three other new questions. Anybody who works in science knows that they’re constantly finding out new things that they don’t know. It increases their ignorance, and so in a certain sense, while science is certainly increasing knowledge, it’s actually increasing our ignorance even faster. So you could say that the chief effect of science is the expansion of ignorance.
In a curious way, Google is all about answers. So you could say that Google is increasing answers over time, but what’s interesting is that answers are becoming cheap; they’re almost free, and I think what becomes scarce in this kind of place that we’re headed to is questions, a really good question, because a really good question can unleash new questions.
In a certain sense what becomes really valuable in a world running under Google’s reign, are great questions, and that means that for a long time humans will be better at than machines.
Machines are for answers; humans are for questions.
The world that Google is constructing—a world of cheap and free answers—having answers is not going to be very significant or important. Having a really great question will be where all the value is.