So my friend who works for the cable company tells me that within the next 20 years, we will all be able to access untold amounts of information simply by “linking up” to the nearest computer terminal and downloading it into our skulls. Kind of like in “The Matrix” when you could learn martial arts or how to fly a helicopter simply by plugging your head into the nearest wall socket and pressing “Enter.”
My friend thinks this new techno-education is a good thing. He thinks that this technology will be a great equalizer in our fractured and stratified society. He claims that when we all have quick and easy access to any and all of the information on the planet, then we will all truly be equal. Knowledge will no longer be something that can be used to oppress and rule people because everybody will have instant access to the same knowledge. Sounds great, huh?It probably comes as no surprise that I do not share my friend’s unfettered optimism about the merits of the coming educational renaissance. First of all, let us not forget that in “The Matrix” you could instantly learn how to fly a helicopter within the Matrix, not in the real world. I think this is kind of an important detail. If you noticed, the humans all still retained a modicum of individuality and interdependency.
In fact, while we’re at it, let’s take away all choice in the matter. When a person turns, say, seven years old, they should be ushered into some secret laboratory and fitted with some processing interface and then forced to download all of the existing knowledge in the known universe. This way everybody will know everything. Erase all differences among us. A race of gods, one and all.
Think about it. Car broke down? Need a mechanic. Wait, you are a mechanic. What’s that, you’ve got a ruptured spleen or a distended hernia? Scrub down and get ready to operate on yourself.
Perhaps we are on to something here. If everyone in the world knows everything, then knowing everything wouldn’t be so exceptional. Therefore, NOT knowing something would be a commodity. Being stupid would be a rare and perhaps even coveted thing. The point is, if everybody knew everything, then what would be the point in knowing everything? Think you are expendable in your job now? Just wait until the average seven-year-old will be just as proficient at calibrating airplane engine components as you are. And he will work for one-tenth the salary.
Knowing everything would also alleviate our need for one another. So long diversity. Adios community. We will be truly self-reliant. We might not even need communication anymore. What would we have to talk about? We’d already know everything. We could just sit quietly in a dark corner somewhere and know stuff, wouldn’t that be great? No more ambition. No more desire. No more limitation. No more community. No more diversity. No more communication. No more humanity.
In fact, since our intellectual capacity will be identical to everyone else’s, the only way we will be able to distinguish each other will be by physical characteristics. Ironically, this is quite a high price to put on the significance of genetics in defining the essence of a person in a time when we were supposed to be down playing the importance of appearance in a person’s self-image. That is, life will be a hell of a lot easier for the all-knowing Brittany Spears than it will for the all-knowing yours truly.
I can’t wait to know everything. I can’t wait until I am just like everybody else. I would like all of the money I spent on college back though. All of the time wasted learning stuff and thinking and struggling to make sense of the world and find my place in it. I want to be reimbursed for that too.
Then again, I am a Mac user, so I probably won’t be able to afford or even find my “God chip” anyway. Oh well. Maybe I will be a god to you all then. Maybe when you have no limitations, you will look to me for answers. Then I will rise up and claim my rightful throne as the stupid guy, king of the omniscient human techno-freaks. Thanks cable guy, for making me an immortal.