The Internet has an amazing power to get anyone up to speed on most any subject instantly. Heard someone use the phrase “machine learning” for the first time today? With a bit of Googling at home, you’ll be lecturing colleagues about bootstrap aggregating and dynamic time warping tomorrow morning. Don’t know much about wine? Book a flight to Argentina and, if you’re willing to pay for in-flight WiFi, you can know your tannats from your tempranillos by the time you land.
But does this kind of rapid Google research really help people learn new concepts – or does it merely make them feel more knowledgeable than they truly are? Is there still a need for people to accumulate information the old-fashioned way – in their brains? Can we cancel all our training programs now that everyone carries an all-knowing digital oracle in their pocket?
The answer, of course, is “it depends”. Specifically: