we’re going to have to face the problem of education in a world in which nearly all knowledge is available to everyone, instantly, all the time.
Take the address book of your cell phone as an example. Without it, I wouldn’t know the phone numbers of even my closest friends and family. In fact, there are times when asked for my own number that I have to consult my phone.
I often think that I would be completely ineffective in my career as a software engineer if it were not for the almighty Google search. Whenever I encounter a problem, a few carefully chosen keywords are often enough to find a solution.
Yet, each time my own knowledge is called into question, I reach the conclusion that this ultimately a good thing. The technology industry has essentially been crowdsourced, under an open source development model where anyone can contribute. This allows engineers to build better applications, and we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.
For example, there is advanced image processing research currently underway which can analyze batches of photos, and automatically pull out ones that are taken at the same location, based solely on the image in the picture. Furthermore, as additional photos are analyzed, they enter a feedback loop which improves the processing algorithms.
When online photo sharing sites such as Flickr are tapped, the algorithms themselves become crowdsourced, improving by the second with each uploaded photo. Eventually, this will lead to devices just like the phone of the future, where perception alone is enough to search all of the world’s information.