Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Last Generation of the Know it All ?

The Last Generation of the Know it All ?
By Gaurav Parab

We all know one. The Know it All. That person in the group who due to spending his time reading 'stuff' , loves to point out the history of things. You know why they call it 'irritating' ?" Or why they call it 'why?"

And yes, usually I would say his/her but this time it is 'his'. Ladies, that is the hard truth. I know this is the season of awakening and revolution, but there are not many women know it alls, like there are not many women serial killers. Which is a good thing.

By the way, I do know a 'know it all'.

( If this had been a video, the camera would have panned in and come uncomfortably close to my eyes, lingered on for a second, zoomed out at frightening speed to a shot of birds taking flight)

Since the day of my birth I have known more about things than the average person. This is not me boasting, it is just my thing. If I had been boasting, I would have talked about the quiz competitions. Or hyper-linked this sentence to news reports.

Yes, it is some people's thing. Some  draw, some write, some repair broken stuff. I just happen to know things. Replace the good looks, and the almost unnoticeable and highly irresistible cleft on my chin, and you have to admit that you know a version of me. Ten years ago that friend in your group was possibly ( not fondly) called Encyclopedia. Five years ago, he became "Wikipedia". Now, that person is...Well he is gone isn't he?

Let me tell you where I went. Let me tell you where we all went.

At the peak of our ability to irritate the mitochondria out of people, we knew things because we would do this:- 1) Read Stuff  2) Connect stuff  3) Remember Stuff  4) When you least expect or want it, point out stuff.

"Damn Parab. We are trapped. The train is coming at high speed, and there is no way out" The Russian blonde said.

"Do you know why they call it light at the end of the tunnel?" The Know it All replied.

So, what happened. Where did we all go. The answer is simple. Google + Information Overload + Smartphones Arrived.

Google has been around for a while. ( And thank god Bing has not ) But the smartphone really juiced up things. Now any one with a phone can look up what is BION, when you are standing outside that tourist attraction. You don't have to be someplace, or in some situation and then go back home to get to your clunky computer to learn more about it. Heck, you can point your phone at a place and it will tell you all there is to be known. Since there is no joy to be had in remembering things, all of us stopped doing it. Information has become unbelievably accessible and frighteningly overwhelming.

Data Bits have become Rabbits. They reproduce at a gazillion information points every minute with people blogging, taking pictures, annotating things, giving answers ( and still finding the time to visit porn sites).
There is simply so much to remember and even Know It all have limits.

Limits that have been breached. After all, in the contest between remembering the Noble Prize Winners in Economics ( I mean the Sveriges Riksbank Prize) and having a data center,  humming away in Mexico, remembering it - there is only one winner.

So, where did we all go. What do we do with our amazing abilities that drove our friends to poke their eyes with rusted dinner forks ?

For a while the quizzes. A quiz is like the Woodstock of Know it Alls. The speakers, the microphones, the dope, the rains...all the works except the hippie women. Any woman, if accuracy is your thing.
But here is the shocking bit A leading quiz, for the past couple of years, has been having a Round where contestants search for answers on guess what?

A smartphone.

It is liking asking a bunch of well toned lumberjacks on a log cutting competition take out their Taiwan made tablets and play Plants and Zombies.

So quizzes may die soon. Or become one of the quaint little activities that people undertake for no reason. ( Like applying nail polish, or setting fire to an otherwise perfectly fine shot of alcohol before drinking it).

So, that's where things stand. Possibly, in a couple of decades or even sooner, conversations between friends won't have that unexpected interruption by a 'fact'. People would just look up facts on their glasses, or considering how rapidly things are changing, facts would be displayed as soon as you speak with the person sitting next to you. And in terms of knowing things, everyone would be equal.

Human interactions may go either of the two ways. With the unpleasant bit about knowing things out of the way, people may be inspired to crank up their minds and discuss spirituality and pursuit abstract lines of thoughts more often. "What if Justin Beiber had a kid with Justin Beiber?"

Or worse, we could also have a situation where people don't talk at all. Maybe we will all chat online, and the slowly stop that and only poke each other.

One Poke - I am missing you.
Two Poke - Is there a Statistics class today?
Three Poke -

"Hey what does a Three Poke mean"
"No seriously"
"I dont know"
"Look it up on Google"
"Yeah, but things were so much better when we had a Know it All"

PS- Pardon the spellos and typos on this one. It has been a while since I wrote, and I wanted to finish this blog in 20 minutes flat. Mission accomplished.