It’s really amazing when you think about the advances made by the human race; just in the past few decades and in the past centuries.A very important reason for this advancement is the ability to share information; that is share the information you acquired to your fellow humans so that collective learning takes place. In case of other animals all the information it acquires during a life time is lost when it dies. That is, there is no scheme by which information is passed on through the generations. This is where communication and sharing of information comes into play.
All the information obtained by all the other human beings can effectively be learnt by you in today’s world.
Close to a hundred billion people have lived on the face of this planet, and all the facts and ideas we have was learnt by someone, somewhere, at some point in time.
This is how we differ from other animals; the information acquired by the animal is lost when it dies. So the only way most species can evolve, to become smarter is by trusting their luck to random genetic mutation. If a favourable ‘mistake’ in the gene happens, the species learn to keep the ‘mistake’ and hence, in a way passing on some information to future generations.
All this just goes on to show how important storing and sharing the information you acquire is of prime importance; just gathering information does not suffice.
Now, just imagine for a second that there is a place where, you store all the information relating anything for free access by anyone at any time. Well, you can stop imagining and head over to www.wikipedia.org.
I owe a lot of what I am today to this single place on the internet, Wikipedia.