Last week, I watched a documentary on Alan Moore, who’s a fairly interesting fellow. One of the things that he said was the rate of information was growing at an exponential rate. For anyone who knows calculus, you can half any number an infinite amount of times and never equal zero – you only get so close to zero that you approximate it. In this case, zero is the length of time it takes for human knowledge to double. So doing some internet research brought up this article about the law of accelerating returns. That article refers to the moment that the double exponential growth of human knowledge and the moment when knowledge grows almost instantaneously as the singularity. Mindblowing, especially so considering that it was written in 2001. If you’re familiar with The Hitchiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, you know the Vogons come and “pave over” the Earth at the moment that the Earth (as computer) is to uncover the meaning of life, the universe and everything. So maybe everyone’s read a few too many good books?
As a total aside, if you want to create some bad Vogon poetry, the BBC has decided to allow that to happen. I don’t think they understand what they have unleashed…
Now what does this all have to do with education? Well, clearly, a new paradigm will be required for knowledge growth that expands immediately.
In connectivism, it’s more important to know how to access data, than what the data is. Getting information and assessing it is crucial to applying that information in a successful way. It also addresses the concept of singularity and instantaneous exponential growth of human knowledge. Now, the Kurzweil article talks about how artificial intelligence will be able to exceed human intelligence in the next twenty years or so (although this isn’t a fixed number by any stretch). It certainly is only one hypothesis. The article continues on to speculate about what might occur to allow for this singularity.
Bringing it back to Alan Moore, he also talks about the singularity and addresses it in a more spiritual manner – where this singularity might be seen as a spiritual enlightenment. Kurzweil also points to this as some sort of transformative incident, although the article doesn’t really speculate that much about the future beyond the singularity.