Vladimir Lenin, the father of modern communism said; "If you want the people to crave white bread, you feed them nothing but white bread." This was (though maybe not the progenitor) the first instance of the value of dumbing-down the people to control them.
Now, take a look at television and music. We have WAY too many channels and portals. This means we need content, which also means we have to lower our standards as to acceptable content. This means the more we advance with technology, in fact, the "stupider" we become. If you don't think this is happening, turn on your TV. You are now receiving four times as many commercials as was the case in the 60's-70's, and every one of them is selling you stuff you don't need, let alone want in most cases. And yet people will tolerate those idiotic interrupters so they don't miss what? "American Idol". Maybe "Dancing with the Stars"... Truly historic shows and information that will undoubtedly change the course of mankind, right? NOT!!!
Think about that - here we have this amazing invention that COULD be used to educate our populous, but what do we do with it? We dumb them down. Oh, no worries, after all, its "just entertainment". Really? A survey a few years ago found that 95% of American teenagers could name all the members of the band N'Sync - but in the same group, only 5% could locate Iraq on a world map, and 1% knew the capitals of their neighboring states. Just harmless entertainment?
This is shocking to my generation where during the Vietnam war, just about every night we would hear from reporters from the battlefield. We would see body bags coming home. This outraged Americans, motivated them and helped put an end to that horrible war. Now, think about Iraq... We have been there longer than we were in Europe for World War II, and still, we hear barely a peep from any battlefield and are forbidden to see body bags. And how often do today's Americans have any concern about that war? Barely at all. Whether you think that war is right or wrong, you cannot deny that we are as uninformed about it as any war in our history - and THIS, right when we have this amazing technology far beyond any ever known.
This dynamic also has a parallel in IT... Last time we hired a DBA I was stunned at how many applicants had good SQL skills, but Zero .NET, Zero CLR skills. I know, I know, some find this "okay" - I do not. I think its silly to try to be a DBA without these base skills. What good is anyone to me if all they do is SQL Server? Sure, thats 50-60% of the work, but there is much more I need! Still, I am told by colleagues that some companies hire DBAs without these skills. My guess is there is a lot of mindless web-surfing going on in those companies. Again, is this us "getting smarter"? Seems the opposite to me.
We need to listen carefully to Lenin's words - its a stark warning for Technologists of all kinds. Its not enough to just invent the next gizmo if you have not thought about content, and the danger of mindless content, whether that's today's digital wasteland of television, or working in a IT department where all you do is "white bread".
As a society we are not increasing our knowledge with technology - we are actually decreasing knowledge, standards, and acceptable baselines. By the time robots, cyborgs and androids are around to do most of the work for us, we will have lost all the knowledge it took centuries to build and absorb. All for the sake of silly shows, whose sole purpose is to promote commercials so you will buy stuff you don't need.
Amazing that some of the most amazing inventions in our time, are actually making us more stupid. Thats progress... Backwards.
There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...