No one person knows how to make a pencil. That is to say, as Matt Ridley has pointed out, no one person is an expert on how to extract graphite as well as design the pencil casing and all of the other steps involved in creating the product. We have to rely on collective intelligence.
In today's lesson, the computer scientist Ramez Naam argues that the ideas the spread are the most useful ideas, and ideas pass the usefulness test through their ability to combine with other ideas and propagate themselves.
So everything we’re doing in society today, such as expanding access to education and research tools, Naam says, "is accelerating this process of the Darwinian evolution of ideas."