When you compare the way that the world absorbs information today in contrast to how we did 20 years ago, the results can be quite staggering. In order to truly highlight how far we've come, recent research (by C + R Research) looked into answering the question: Who has more access to information over a wide spectrum of areas, a 13-year-old kid with a working smartphone, or Bill Clinton when he was President of the United States (From 1993-2001)?
You may be surprised at how many areas have the 13-year-old kid come out on top, but you'll also hopefully learn the lesson that just because we may have access to information quicker, does not mean it's necessarily more accurate or reliable. As well as highlighting the differences, we've also included in our headings who came out on top so you can quickly get to the results.
14 Traffic Information (Smartphone User)
When it comes to getting around, being aware of traffic is definitely one of the biggest things you can have to your advantage. In 2016 apps such as Google Maps comes standard on most phones. On top of helping direct you on where to go, many of the apps will also tell you about traffic data and allow you to get where you need to go effectively.
For Clinton, the main source of information he had in regards to traffic came from AM Radio. If that wasn't enough for him, he would occasionally send his own helicopter out to try and get the information that he needed in regards to traffic. Call us crazy, but that's far from being the most convenient!
13 Accessibility of Music (Smartphone User)
There are a lot of categories that we are going to look at today that may be a close call, but in this one the 2016 13-year-old kid easily comes out on top. Spotify is the main example used, with over 30 million songs being accessible at your fingertips and the ability to download thousands of song to listen to at your convenience.
Bill Clinton had access to CDs. We're sure he had a pretty bitching sound system though!
12 Encyclopedic Information (Clinton)
When it comes to tracking down information, it's hard to argue that it is not easier in 2016. After all, a quick search on Google or Wikipedia will get you most of the answers that you need. Yet, as advantageous as being able to access information online is, there is a level of caution that needs to come with it.
The research pointed out astutely that while we may be able to access information more efficiently, the information that Clinton had access to was far more reliable. Furthermore, Clinton had the ability to engage in discussion with these experts, as opposed to learning about it passively at home.
11 Knowledge Of Genetics (Smartphone User)
If you have an interest in learning about your history and potential hereditary diseases, then you're probably pretty glad you are born in 2016. The best example used in the research was the website 23andme.com, which for $250 will help diagnose over 100 different health conditions and traits that you may be predisposed for.
The science and research poured into this field was simply not as far along in Clinton's era. At the time the main goal for scientists was to work on a 13-year, $300 million project to achieve sequencing the first full human genome. To put it in perspective, this project was not completed until 2003.
10 Public Opinion (Smartphone User)
Whether you choose to engage in social media or not, there is no denying that today we have a tremendous amount of insight into the world right at our fingertips. Perhaps you want to discover what is trending. If instead you'd rather share your opinion or read somebody else's, 2016 is definitely a time in which we should feel technologically connected to the world.
While to his credit Clinton did have access to some of the best polling teams around, there is no way this comes close to what we have access to in 2016.
9 Crowd-Sourcing (Tie)
When it comes to crowd-sourcing, the main example used for 2016 was access to the website Reddit. Reddit is currently featuring users from 217 different countries and covers every topic under the sun, with over 800,000 different subreddits. The downfall of this is that you cannot always trust the information you are getting (...wait, people lie on the internet?)
It was determined by the research that this one was a tie. Clinton had access to the world experts, and while this was not as accessible as Reddit, at least the information would be more reliable.
8 Live Feeds (Smartphone User)
In all honesty, this one seems like it's a little unfair to include in the list, as Bill Clinton may have been able to set up live feeds if he wanted to, but they were just not around in 1996 in the same way they are today. In contrast, live feeds are absolutely everywhere in 2016.
7 Street Views (Smartphone User)
You can give a huge shoutout to Google Street View for representing 2016 well in this category. Do you want to see a picture of your house? You can probably do that through Google. Sure, that's super creepy and invasive, but it's also still probably a thing.
The research did point out how Clinton would have had access to satellite technology, but that is hardly a comparison to the level of detail we get during street views in 2016.
6 Trivial Information (Smartphone User)
Above you read about Wikipedia and the value that it brings to life as we are able to look up and read about almost limitless subjects in an efficient way. While there is a knock on how reliable it is, when it comes to finding trivial information, there is no shortage of avenues to explore in 2016. The fact is, if you have a question and can find a coherent enough way to ask it, you can probably find an answer for it in a few minutes of Googling.
Clinton's main way to look up information was through the Library of Congress. Probably something he wasn't willing to do when the question he was "...Just how does the rest of 'Ice Ice Baby' go?"
5 Research Journals (Clinton)
Sure, you can access things like the lyrics to that Vanilla Ice song in 2016, but do you have access to really cool and interesting research journals? You do, but it's definitely not the cheapest thing in the world.
Research showed that getting subscriptions to certain scholarly websites can run you as much as $20,000 a year. In contrast, ain't nobody going to be asking Bill Clinton to pay if he comes looking for some scholarly work. Research gave the edge to Clinton for that reason.
There may be more information technically available in 2016, the only question is, can you get access to it?
4 Tracking (Tie)
When it comes to trying to discover where your loved ones are in 2016, there are definitely plenty of technological tools that you can have to your advantage. While this can also remove a sense of privacy, there are definitely some benefits to this growth in technology as well.
Clinton may not have been able to enable location services on his non-existent iMessage back in 1996...but he did have the Secret Service, and they were definitely pretty good at keeping an eye on his family members.
This one was determined a tie.
3 Satellites Info (Clinton)
The advantage that you have in 2016 is that Google Earth is a thing and that can allow you access to seeing most of the world. But while that is very cool, Clinton was definitely given unrestricted access to any of the U.S. Satellite images that were available back in 1996.
The fact that everyone has access to Google Earth images also makes the level of power that Clinton had far cooler. The research determined Clinton as the winner.
2 Classified Information (Clinton)
There is no denying that we have access to some classified information that the government would rather we didn't (Thanks Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks!), but we'd be lying if we claimed to have even close to the full picture. The main example is that while we may know there is a $50 billion "black budget" that is used to fund 16 spy agencies, we do not know what makes up that extensive budget.
In contrast, Clinton had access to what was at the time, 5,685,462 documents that were determined to be classified, as well as all those juicy details that you know are never going to come to public light.
Clinton was the clear winner.
1 Private Data (Clinton)
A 13-year-old kid should have no access to private data that is collected by companies, even if he does have elite hacking skills! Technically, Clinton did not have access to it either, but research still sided with him, saying "Leadership from public and private sectors inevitably becomes intertwined, and symbiotic relationships form."
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