This is a fascinating infographic, which gives you a pretty good idea of the vastness of the internet, and some of the implications of that vastness.
Shakespeare wrote all his plays with just variations on the phrases, “Wear your heart on your sleeve” and, “Love is blind”*, but even though nobody uses email anymore, we still send over 204 million email messages every minute.)
To try to design qualifications that take account of this amount of information would seem to be difficult. One thing I wouldn’t do, in the light of all this data, is suggest that learning things by heart or by rote is going to get you very far in the 21st Century. Unless you’re Rain Man. In a world with this much data, I think the idea that you’re not allowed to look something up in order to gain a qualification is a tad ridiculous.
Another implication is the silly idea of the government “watching” all our updates and messages. Yeah. 48 hours of new video is uploaded to YouTube every minute; over half a million Facebook updates every minute; over 6000 photos shared by Flickr and Instagram users every minute; and 100,000 tweets a minute (that’s six million tweets per hour, or 144 million tweets per day. The future belongs to algorithms – and they don’t care if you’re innocent.
So when I publish this blog post, it’s one of 347 published this minute. The internet is like an infinite warehouse with infinite shelves, and I just placed something the size of a fish scale on one of them. Needless to say, in the future, the scarcest resource is not going to be information. The scarcest resource is your attention.
Hello? Is this thing on?
A final thought: all of this data is stored somewhere, on hard drives in servers in server farms around the world. When Twitter went down for an hour or so yesterday afternoon, some people joked that they thought a nuclear bomb had gone off somewhere. How would we know?
*May not be true