The advancement of science has led to the exponential creation of knowledge. We know more now than ever before and this increase will continue as technology advances.
As knowledge is created exponentially, the number of questions we have grows exponentially as well.
The more we know, the more we realise how much more we don’t know. This means we some our questions are answered, we come up with other new questions.
We have always asked questions, we used to ask the people around us, the yellow pages, encyclopedia books, the local libraries and other such analog tools.
With the digital age, we have begun asking those questions to search engines and digital assistants. If you have a question, google it.
It is estimated that we do 3 trillion searches every year across our various search engines alone. With the advent of smartphones and other personal electronic devices, this number of questions will go up.
The gap between knowledge and questions is ignorance and this gap grows exponentially as well. So, as science and technology advances, the more questions we will have and the more ignorant we will be.
This means we will likely never have the likes of a Ben Franklin or a Leonardo da Vinci again, all this knowledge makes it very hard to become an inventor across domains. Franklin and da Vinci were those rare individuals who had multiple talents across a number of disciplines: painter, mathematician, engineer, architect, botanist, sculptor, geologist and anatomist, engineering etc.
It also means that answers will have an increasingly [perhaps exponentially?] less important place in society.
Smartphones, Robots, AI will be able to search massive troves of information to give us answers. However, great questions will be scarce.
It is great questions that lead to the advancement of science and our human race.
Great questions won’t mean answers. They will mean more knowledge, some understanding and a lot more comprehension of our immense ignorance.
The quality of questions we are going to have to ask will be more important than the answers.
We are going to need more question-storming sessions where we get into a room and spend 3 hours asking, throwing and sharpening great questions on a whiteboard.
Science, life, knowledge, progress, they are all about the journey, journey that starts with great questions.
I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. – Isaac Newton
What great questions are you working on?