There can be no wisdom without data

Nick Carr on the belief that remembering facts becomes less and less important with the increased accessibility of information online:

But this idea that knowledge can be separated from facts – that we can know without knowing – really needs to be challenged before it gains any further currency. It’s wonderful beyond words that we humans can look things up, whether in books or from the web, but that doesn’t mean that the contents of our memory doesn’t matter. Understanding comes from context, and context comes from knowing stuff. Facts become most meaningful when, thanks to the miracle of memory, we weave them together in our minds into something much greater: personal knowledge and, if we’re lucky, wisdom.

Perhaps this is the kernel of truth in the “Google makes you stupid” argument. The field of Information Science teaches that wisdom comes from knowledge, which comes from information, which comes from data. If we can’t hold enough pieces of data in our heads for at least a little while, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.