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Can Our Brains Keep Up?

Knowledge is growing at an astounding rate. If it continues at its current rate, Robert Hilliard, Professor of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College in Boston, claims that:

  • When a baby born today graduates from a university, the amount of knowledge known will have grown to be four times greater.
  • By the time the child is 50 years old, the amount of knowledge known will have grown to be thirty-two times greater.
  • And, 97% of everything known on earth will have been learned as new knowledge since the day the child was born.
Question: These predictions were made by Dr. Hilliard pre-1981. Do you think they remain correct...or has the knowledge explosion even increased at a faster rate?

Exploration: Find data that either supports or refutes these claims. What kind of data would be useful? Where would you look? How do you account for the different life markings in your search for data?

Source: John Templeton's The Humble Approach, 1981, p. 57.