My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Did You Know?

If you haven't seen it already, you need to watch Karl Fisch's Did You Know? presentation. My history teacher showed us the version by Scott McLeod (which removes the school-specific slides).

You can watch it on YouTube, and I encourage you to do so. It's quite impactful. At first glance they might seem just like statistics, but take a moment to just consider the ramifications of the statements. We have moved from a local society to a global village in a few hundred years.

The frightening thing is that we are showing no sign of slowing down--as a species, we are continuing to progress at a geometric level. As a graduating student who is about to enter the "real world" of university, employment, and life as an adult, the idea that careers and our level of information exchange may be radically different in ten years is disconcerting, to say the least.

We have also discussed the nature of memory in class as well. Medieval peasants had incredible memories; they couldn't write down information, so they had to remember it. Nowadays, we can find information through a variety of resources. Of course, the amount of information that we use has vastly increased as well. The presentation's estimates of our sum total of knowledge, and its increase, is staggering. That's just for the human species. Imagine how much information comprises the total universe?

Is this a good thing? A bad thing? I don't know. I think that there's elements of both to the changes in society. The most important thing is to be aware of these changes, to acknowledge the fact that life isn't a steady-state universe. And we have to be ready to implement our own change, for better or for worse, if we see something we don't like.