/ Pratik Mallya

Wonderful time to be alive

I don’t think I can ever truly get over the fact that today, if I’m curious about something, anything, all it takes is a search in any popular web service to instantly locate all kinds of explanations about that phenomena. From Quantum Physics to History, everything is available online, for free.

I tried to imagine a person in the 19th century. Average literacy was much lower. Imagine not being able to read! Your view of the world and of truth itself is limited, paradigms of the world are very different. You would have to rely on talking to other people to get information about anything. How would you capture your amazing ideas? Not possible.

For the persons who could read, the avenues for getting information still seemed quite limited. Newspapers, magazines were perhaps the most regular forms of disseminating knowledge. It seems like a very push based form of information communication, where knowledge and information, and events were centralized and then blasted out to the millions to consume. And the consumers had only these sources of information.

Today, its a pull based form where every individual is given several different options in a media diet, and it is for them to decide what to feast on. Their worldview is thus shaped by this media diet. Just like with literal diets, trashy media diets seem to be tasty and irresistable to refuse for most.

Back to the 19th century. Even the highly educated folks needed to be near other educated folks in Universities and such. Universities around the world, thus, formed the nodes of a global, human network of knowledge. No surprise then that the first packet switched, interconnected computer network (ARPANET) was between universtities.

Today, commercial successes have given the internet an unprecedented amount of importance in the daily lives of most Americans; its funding and upkeep is thus guaranteed. The alpha version connected universities, the current version connects everyone.