This past Sunday, I used an illustration in the sermon about my sixteen-year-old granddaugher who since her birth the accumulative knowledge of the human race has increased by 97%. Think about that folks. It’s an astounding statistic. Allow me to put this into perspective.
Buckminister Fuller noted that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. But, by the time I was in high school knowledge was doubling every twenty-five years. Wow! But hold on. As Paul Harvey was prone to say, “There’s more to the story.” Today, you discover that human knowledge is doubling every thirteen months. And hold on to your hats! Studies show that with the build out of the internet human knowledge will soon double at the rate of once every twelve hours.
Holey Moley! Let’s pause here to let this tired old parson lean back in his chair, take a deep breath and relax. It’s the only alternative to becoming a relic before this blog is finished.
Things are happening at an unbelievable pace. Have you heard of Wikipedia? It’s an online encyclopedia, where hundreds of thousands of volunteers input data to compose and edit each other’s offerings into an infinite variety of subject matters. People who don’t know each other are contributing to the advancement of knowledge by holding each other to standards and advancing the knowledge of the human race. It’s called collaboration; and in the internet circles it’s working.
Most of what we do on the internet today is made possible not be some highly paid software engineer or developer in the Silicon Valley. Nope, most of what we do on the internet is made available by people who believe in open sourcing. That is, they believe the internet should be free and provide software free of charge to enhance its capabilities.
Here’s an example: Ever go to a website, maybe to purchase a ticket for an upcoming concert? Okay, admittedly some of the people who read this are of a more advanced age than I. Consequently, they haven’t gone to such a site. I’ll have to ask them to trust me. So, if you got to such a site, let’s say to purchase tickets for a Beyonce Concert -- What? You don’t know who Beyonce is? -- OMG, can we pause for a moment of prayer? You'e much older than I thought. Anyway, if you know who Beyonce is, and want to purchase a ticket for her concert, at the end of the process you’ll encounter a little box that says, “We need you to prove you’re human.” Then you have to type in the fuzzy letters you see on the screen.
Here’s the neat thing. When you retype those letters, what you’re actually retying is portions of words that have been scanned from books which the computer could not read because the ink fades with age. You’re telling the computer what the book says. Bingo! Collaboration to double knowledge.
In Boston, people can go online to adopt a fire hydrant. Yep, that’s what I said, a fire hydrant. When they adopt the fire hydrant they can name it. So when it snows and you’ve adopted Fred the Fire Hydrant, it’s your job to shovel the snow away from the hydrant so the fire department can find Fred. Human collobration.It makes one hope and pray some smart kid will develop an app that will allow us to push a button on our smartphone that makes our Congressional representatives behave like adults.