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Information

In 1850, the population of the world was 1.2 billion. When I was born, it was 3.6 billion. Currently, it is 7.7 billion.

In the same way, in 1850, the population of the United States was 23.2 million. When I was born, it was 203.2 million. It is now 327.1 million.

Each one of those additional human beings is doing something: creating, working, interacting with others. Each human creates information.

So if it was difficult to know even a representative sample of all the information world in 1860, it must be proportionally more difficult now.

This is a problem for education. To educate a young human being, to ensure they have the information and skills necessary to grapple with the world, is difficult enough. The degree of difficulty increases with the total amount of information existing. We can expect the challenge of education in our society to only intensify.

Imagine you read a book a day, 365 books a year, 3,650 books a decade. We’ll even grant that you have perfect recall; every iota of information in these books enters your brain and is fully accessible at all times. Over the course of a 65-year adulthood, you will read 23,725 books, fiction and nonfiction, cutting through all subject areas, a rich cross-section of human existence conveyed in print form.

In the United States alone, in 2015 alone, more than 700,000 titles were published.

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