Knowledge vs Intelligence

So Google is on the way to replacing our general knowledge.

Prompting the question, do we really need to know stuff?

Well, maybe not just to remember facts. That’s just about dumb information retrieval, which might well be better performed by some kind of giant searchable hard drive – wherever it is. It might offend those who believe that intelligence means knowing stuff – like dates of kings and queens – but in the real world, if we can always find the answer within seconds, why waste valuable cerebral real estate with stuff like that?


Creativity comes from colliding facts together. Remembering something you’ve seen which is “relevant”, and recombining it with that thing you’ve just noticed.

In fact the idea of “relevance” is fuzzy, messy and not at all within the grasp of search engines. And what they certainly can’t do (yet) is experimentally collide concepts and fuse something new.

So if we want to remain creative we have to know stuff. Really know it. Internalise it, so it’s available to our subconscious brain (which is where all the thinking happens.)

As opposed to merely being able to access it when we need to know it.

Maybe all those duffers worrying about Google have a point.


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