The World’s Data is Doubling But We’re Still Getting Dumber(er)
I have a slight confession to make.
I’m a bit apprehensive about telling you what I’m about to tell you, as this is the first time I’ve ever admitted this in a public forum.
But one of my all time favorite movies is….
Dumb and Dumber.
Followed right after Jurassic Park and the Shawshank Redemption (???)
Yes, I like me some dinosaurs.
And Morgan Freeman.
But that’s not my point.
I bring up the movie because that’s pretty much the direction our world is going.
Dumb. And dumber.
Allow me to digress to make my point.
In a recent article published by Mashable.com, it is estimated that the world’s information doubles every 2 years.
“1.8 zettabytes of data will be created and replicated in 2011″.
The following is a chart from the article that puts this number into terms we can understand. For a better view or to read the article click here or directly on the chart below.
Image by Sasha McCune via Mashable.com
What does all this mean?
Well, it basically means that there’s a whole lot of crap out there.
From new music, to new books, new articles (like this one), new blogs, new movies, new apps, new…you get the picture.
We are constantly creating information.
This makes me think about all the researchers here in Longwood Ave. in Boston, toiling away in labs coming up with new experiments, creating new data, tables, charts and papers for research journals trying to uncover a specific DNA that may explain obesity, diabetes, or any other degenerative (and preventable) disease.
Or, I think of all the universities creating new email and financial aide accounts for incoming students.
New versions of the iPhone and the iPad, similar to the gestation period of a newborn, are popping out every 9 months.
What I’m saying is that we are in a perpetual state of creation.
Through all of this, what I find fascinating is that we have come so far in our technological and medical advances (like being able to make food from poop), that it’s pulled us so far away from the information that really matters.
We are creating so much new data.
All new information.
But all we really need to know,
We already know.
We were born with it.
Deeply engrained in us.
The instinct to survive.
The instinct to hunt and to feed ourselves.
The instinct to belong.
And the instinct to love and to be loved.
All the data, and all the information we ever need, is already here, deep inside us.
Everything else that we’ve created is just another speck of dust in a giant cloud that’s distorting our instinctual abilities and intelligence.
Now, going back to my Jurassic Park reference, when Dr. Grant learns that the dinosaurs are fed, rather than allowed to hunt, he says:
“T.Rex doesn’t want to be fed, he wants to hunt. Can’t just suppress sixty five million years of gut instinct”.
And my friends, that’s pretty much what we’ve done to ourselves over the last several ten’s of thousands of years.
We’ve suppressed our gut instincts.
All the information and technology we’ve created, which initially was designed to make our lives easier, has done quite the opposite.
Sure we can pick up our iPhones and practically shoot ourselves to the moon, but the vast majority of people have absolutely no clue how to even feed themselves, one of the most basic and primal instincts.
In 2010 we spent over $61 BILLION dollars in the weight loss market.
Meaning, as a country, we are spending $61 billion a year, or $5 billion a month on diet pills, weight loss programs, books, and the like, on having other people tell us how to do something as instinctive as eating.
And to me, that seems pretty dumb: Paying for something we already have.
It’s like we’ve moved so far away from and have forgotten what we already know that we’re trying to create new ways to figure out what we have forgotten, but we don’t even know we already have it, because we’ve gotten so far away from it.
As a whole, the technology and data cloud we’ve created has suppressed our innate and natural abilities to perform some of our most basic functions.
And so it seems on the outside we’re “wicked smaht”, being able to turn on our cars with our cellphones, when in reality, we’re not too far away from driving ourselves “almost a sixth of the way across the country in the wrong direction”.
(If you didn’t get this line, we obviously don’t share the same love of movies).
My point of all this is to remind us, despite how much data we create, that we already possess all that we ever need to know and that we carry with us, all that we ever need to have.
And perhaps soon, there will be a shift in our consciousness that will bring us back in the right direction.
Perhaps soon, we can learn to appreciate real life conversations over texting again, and we can shift back into enjoying our meals at home and not on the run.
And perhaps very soon, we can all learn to successfully listen to our instinctive abilities to feed and care for ourselves without have to spend billions of dollars to have other people do it for us.
All we really need to know, we already know.