Optimizing Transmission of Knowledge

  • It scales. Likely the most significant reason our relationship with books is problematic for us is that books do not scale well as a medium for information transmission. Their production is resource-intensive, their distribution is difficult and their form is quite fragile. Digital video, on the other hand, has essentially no marginal cost, exponentially growing channels of distribution, and nearly half the world’s people carry a device on their person which can accommodate it.
  • Video represents a return to the organic. Engaging with any book is a profoundly inorganic experience in which a human will undergo a long period of stillness and focus while their eyes repeatedly scan across a series of markings which cause their minds to virtually experience or contemplate something which isn’t really there. Whereas speech is genetically rooted in our species, writing is a relatively new invention, and yet many now consider books and particularly textbooks the ‘end of history’ technology for the spread of ideas, as if it were the paragon transceiver of thought. Instead of humans molding themselves around a technology (learning on the book’s terms), video is only one step removed from human-to-human teaching, which humans are innately good at.
  • It’s iterable. Updating a textbook is a serious undertaking. Updating a video is not. If a particular explanation of a concept in a textbook fails to convey that concept to learners, the author will likely be unaware, and even if they do find out, the only tool available to them to remedy the situation is publishing a new edition. In the context of a video, large quantities of data are generated by viewership of videos which can themselves be updated and seamlessly integrated into learning resources on the web, to optimize the transmission of knowledge for those who seek it.
  1. No one has really had the insight to exploit video as a way of teaching who was willing to overcome the potential regulatory and systemic barriers to achieving that goal.

conscious mammalian organism, fanatical tea snob.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store