Saturday, July 18, 2009

No Excuse For Ignorance

We should feel privileged to be alive but feel disappointed that we are going to miss out on so much.

Admittedly, some people's lives are very tough indeed and for many people around the world, hardship, suffering, poverty and hunger dominate.

But I am privileged. I live in the UK with a reasonable job and I have access to things that my parents couldn't have dreamed of. I live on the information super-highway; I have access to knowledge at my finger-tips which means I no longer need to retain the information in my own head. I just need to know where to look for the information.

As an example... I have been watching the latest Virgin Mobile advertisement on television in awe. I say watching, but I really mean listening. The accompanying song is one of the most beautiful sounds I think I've ever heard. I "need" to hear it again. And by the power that I have at my finger tips, I can search for "Virgin Mobile train advertisement song" and the first hit I get back from Google tells me that Mazzy Star performed the song which is called "Into Dust". I fired up Spotify and searched for Mazzy Star and within ~2 minutes of the advert being aired on television, I'm listening to the track.

Just a handful of years ago, the track would've been lost. I would never have found it. I went from having no knowledge of Mazzy Star to elevating "Into Dust" into my Top 10 songs of all time within minutes. The internet has allowed me to no longer feel ignorant.

All of this leads me to my next point. There is no excuse for ignorance anymore. All the information that the lay-person could ever hope to acquire is available. When someone asks me a "how do I" type of question, I'm more inclined to ask them why don't they already know the answer - especially if they are asking me the question over some form of instant messaging tool. Surely asking the question of Google would've been just as easy as asking me the question?

However, I guess the fact that people aren't capable of finding the information they are seeking is the thing that keeps me (and other IT consultants) employed.

BTW: I really do recommend "Into Dust" by Mazzy Star. It's a joy.
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