+1 415 842 4822 mail@channelmeister.com

Search engine making you dumb? – The Daily PPILL #84

Since the appearance of the search engine a great deal has changed about how we do things.

I can still remember when memorizing something at hearth, was not just something for convenience, to have the most frequently needed information “in the cache”, and available immediately, but it was actually a necessity. For technical stuff, for example, we used to bookmark certain pages of our textbooks so we could use them as a reference. This way, we had two layers, the things we knew from hearth, and the things we knew were to look up immediately.

As the Internet became more accessible from everywhere, more and more information has been digitized, and search engines became better; the need for memorizing has more or less -with the exception of game show contestants- effectively vanished. In the last few years, it has gone a few steps further with improved experience from voice-assisted digital assistants like Siri and Alexa, where now, we can just ask a question out to the ether and get the answer within seconds.

I noticed I have started forgetting some factual data, and relying more and more on search. But there is another consequence for this. We are effectively outsourcing our global knowledge to search, in a collective big digital brain, and this may have huge consequences.

This is a journey that began many years ago, in an effort of passing information from generation to generation. Evolution first selected the “replicator” as a way of passing on physical features that are better for survival, to the next generation. Then intelligent life prevailed as we were able to figure out our everyday problems.

But every generation had to figure things out on their own, until we found a way to teach our children the best place to forage, the location of the watering hole, and the best hunting technique. This kept being a perennial “telephone game”, and was very prone to error. So we started coming up with ways to preserve certain thoughts in more permanent ways, like for example folk songs and stories. The “meme” (in contrast with “gene”), was born.

acquired characteristics are not inherited. No matter how much knowledge and wisdom you acquire during your life, not one jot will be passed on to your children by genetic means. Each new generation starts from scratch.

Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

When Gutenberg invented moveable type, we took this one step further, making it possible to outsource the continuity of ideas, to books. A whole generation could be skipped, and the book would still contain the same idea, verbatim, as the author intended. We even became able to transmit ideas over a distance, between two humans who would never meet in person ever, just by shipping a book.

Today, with the outsourcing to search, we are taking yet another step in evolution. Search is not just a better book. All the human knowledge, all the books in the world are not that much useful unless you read through them, or you go through a traditional education process. Every generation starts from zero, and they have to learn everything.

But with search, is different. Search, given that we have basic skills to know how to use the information we tap into, gives us knowledge that is immediately -not just available- but also actionable. For certain things, no longer has every generation have to start from zero. Think about it, a 12-year old can google exactly the same information than you. Many of us don’t even make an effort in memorizing certain addresses, we just rely on our GPS. In this sense, a visitor knows exactly how to get to a certain place, as a local.

These capabilities will continue to evolve, as we incorporate more Augmented Reality technologies that feed us with relevant information in-context and effortlessly. And this progress, will continue to improve and evolve at the speed of Moore’s Law.

I argue that this is truly a giant leap in our evolution, we are just not aware of how impactful all this will be. You can stop memorizing now.

As originally published at The ChannelMeister
on June 2, 2022. Please consider sharing and subscribing HERE.
The Daily PPILL is my personal daily blog project. PPILL stands for Purpose, Process, Innovation, Leverage, and Leadership; the themes that I write about, and in my view, indispensable ingredients of any great initiative.

Subscribe to The Daily PPILL

Sign up to get the very next Daily PPILL from The Channelmeister

Please wait...

Thank you!

You have successfully joined the subscriber list.

Whitelist mail@channelmeister.com and if you are using gmail, move my next email to "Primary" to ensure delivery.

The reply all storm – The Daily PPILL #174

You may know by now, that one of the thins I do is pro-bono work advising small businesses and early-stage startups. I do this through an association whose sole purpose is this, and all their services are provided by volunteers, just like myself. In that peer group though, it is more common to find the seasoned, retired small business owner, or...

Algorithms – The Daily PPILL #173

Algorithm. Such a fancy word. It has a pretty disappointing origin. It doesn't come from the greek "algos", and has nothing to do with rhythm. Some trace it back to the name of a Persian mathematician. Wikipedia defines it as a "finite sequence of rigorous instructions, typically used to solve a class of specific problems". Today, the algorithm...

Values drive performance – The Daily PPILL #172

People of the channel, those involved in the design of compensation plans, and even smart policy makers know that incentives drive behavior. The proper design of incentives can drive behavior at scale, in a statistical manner (meaning that not everybody may follow the path we trace, but some will do, and the proportion between these two groups...

The best and the worst – The Daily PPILL #171

Before I continue, let me address the loss from hurricane Ian. I have seen the devastation, the destruction. It pains me just imagining coming back to a home that is almost unrecognizable, and my hearth goes out to the families who sustained significant damage because of the storm. Especially of the kind that no insurance can replace. The...

End of whatever considerations – The Daily PPILL #170

We are good at starting things, but we can't imagine how they will end. At least not easily. And they will. That's why people with more resources than most of us have teams of attorneys coming up with better ways of preparing for the inevitable. They have exit clauses, golden parachutes, trust funds, prenuptial agreements; all designed so that...

When you’re on, you’re on – The Daily PPILL #169

There is a lot of lightning in Florida. A lot. That's why the storm a few days back took out some equipment, and it even manged to damage the circuitry inside of a few LED lights. (Did you ever wonder why you need circuitry inside LEDs? The current has to be REGULATED. Connecting a LED straight to an energy source will turn it into a fuse, and I...

The Upsell – The Daily PPILL #168

Upselling is a great idea. We hear the "Do you want fries with that?" frequently. The biggest reasons is because acquiring a new customer is the hardest way to grow your sales. In contrast, when someone is already your customer, there are less obstacles to engage in conversation. And upselling, is just that. Engage in conversation and offer...

The game has changed – The Daily PPILL #167

May sound like coming from an old curmudgeon, but is true. The things that used to work even less than a decade ago, now don't. We live in a world where the existing formulas have been upended. It has been happening for a while, but now we cannot deny it anymore. No one in their right mind will ever put all their options against a career at one...

Always a celebration – The Daily PPILL #166

Dogs have some fantastic things about them. One is the way they just don't care about how we may be judging them. In one seamless move they can just lick whatever body part and then, lick your face. Our dog -like many others- doesn't wait until someone scratches her back. She just goes and does it herself. She doesn't wait for someone, but she...

Who’s missing out? – The Daily PPILL #165

We all want to be successful in life, yet sometimes we look at others secretly thinking “you are not ALL that!”. Everybody is deserving of reaching their highest potential, and as the title of this post suggests, the ones who are missing out the most, is not them, but us, the rest of us. Imagine what a world would we live in if Andrea Bocelli,...

Part of a tribe – The Daily PPILL #164

Humans are creatures who are constantly seeking to create connections and networks with other humans. No matter what we do, we find ways to connect--whether that's through social media or interacting in person. And we are all part of tribe. We all have “our thing”, where we identify with “people like us”. We find our tribe at different places....

What a decade means – The Daily PPILL #163

I didn’t run out of things to watch on Netflix. No one can. But for some reason I decided to watch AMC’s “Rubicon” again. If you haven't seen it, this one I recommend. It is all I remembered it was. A psychological thriller, filled with riddles, where the only image of blood is a red stain on a bathrobe collected as evidence, and still manages to...

Being walked by the dog – The Daily PPILL #162

Sometimes, when I am walking the dog, I forget what the whole deal is about. In these occasions I get anxious to go around the block. But "Walking the dog" is not about going around the block. It is not about completing a task. This is the dog's time, and mine will gladly remind me if I forget. The dog is not interested in "going somewhere" or...

Who are you comparing yourself against? – The Daily PPILL #161

In the words of Naval Ravikant, "in modern life, what happens is -like- the person who is the best at doing something in the world will get to do it for the entire world...through a combination of leverage and distribution and accountability and specific knowledge" And the problem with this, is that there is always someone better to compare...

Marketing is a beacon – The Daily PPILL #160

Flowers are beautiful. No arguing about that one, and we have also seen how bees and other insects -necessary for pollination, get attracted by them . But we can't really appreciate the attraction that bees feel for them, until we try to see like they do. Us humans, we see the world through the limited lens of our senses. Our vision, in...

Metrics to manage, metrics to measure, metrics to brag – The Daily PPILL #159

These are the basic three types of metrics. There are metrics that help us manage a process, to know if we are on-track or not. The speed on the dashboard. The number of customers we are working on. Our calorie intake. Then there are metrics to brag about, or "vanity metrics". These are the ones that don't really mean a lot, but they sound...

It is not enough just to invent it – The Daily PPILL #158

When the announcement of this product came out, it really caught my attention. After all, I am a bit of a nut when it comes to new audio technology. As soon as something like this is announced, I want to know what it is, how exactly does it work, and most of all, what it's not. It was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show 2022, in January,...

PSA: How do VPNs actually work? – The Daily PPILL #157

This is a Public Service Announcement. There is a lot of advertising about VPNs. They are pitched as necessary for your "security", but how much do you really need one? VPNs, that is virtual private networks, provide a user with a secure connection to their network. A VPN encrypts all the traffic that goes through it and ensures that it cannot be...

Information is power – The Daily PPILL #156

I have been hearing this since I was a kid. "Information is power". It was usually associated to some specific item of knowledge. Something that would allow someone to take advantage, to do some arbitrage, even blackmail someone. And most of my life, it continued to be this way. Power was concentrated in capital goods, production, natural...

Charles’ Turn – The Daily PPILL #155

I try to make my Friday PPILL about leadership. Given the circumstances and being Friday today, I cannot write about anything else, but the British monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II passed away yesterday at 96. During her 70-year reign, she has been criticized, applauded, and analyzed. She will be remembered in many ways but “simple”. Some will argue...

A rumor spreads – The Daily PPILL #154

It started with a rumor. A lie. As many rumors, they were talking behind its back. Accusing it of things that would never do intentionally. And people believed it, and the hatred grew. In the new neighborhood we live in, someone started an oak tree scare. Someone said that the three would break pipes, and break concrete slabs. The rumor spread....

No, I don’t know your dad – The Daily PPILL #153

One of the things I do, is that I provide mentorship and advise for small business owners. Recently, the heir of a small business owner came to me asking for direction on setting up their e-commerce initiative. A channel background comes in handy in these cases. Us, the people of the channel, we are constantly confronted with conflict scenarios...

The privilege of digital journeys – The Daily PPILL #152

Have you noticed lately that every time you go into a Starbucks during busy hours, the Barista is making drink after drink for online orders? If you grab a sandwich or something to eat, you probably finish it up -and almost digest it- before they call your Starbucks name and hand you your non-fat, decaf, extra whatever, cannot-make-it-upuccino....

The most valuable resource – The Daily PPILL #151

Well, what we have been trying to avoid for two years, happened. A few weeks ago as of this writing, I tested positive for COVID-19. After multiple boosters and what we believe now is a milder strain, I was way lucky. Symptoms were mild, with some coughing, a sore throat and a lot of tiredness, but nothing to get scared about. And even though it...

A riddle of smartness – The Daily PPILL #150

This is one of the smartest phrases I ever heard, uttered by the one and only Malcolm Gladwell, of “Tipping Point” fame. There is so many levels to it. With his sharp power of analogy, and his uncanny ability to make the obscure obvious, Malcolm is definitely one smart cookie. He said, speaking of his friend Adam Grant, “I’d steal his ideas,...
%d bloggers like this: