If I were born just now, and plugged into a 24/7 machine that did nothing but play YouTube videos, in order of their upload, starting with the second of my birth, and I lived to be 80 years old, I would get through almost a week of videos. YouTube announced late last month that, as of their seventh birthday, May 21st, 72 hours of video was being uploaded per minute.[1. Via Boing Boing] It's not all deeply engaging, intelligent content, but if 1% of it is, that's about 45 minutes of awesome material a day. I think the percentage is much higher, especially if you look out for a variety of users tuned to your different interests.
And YouTube is free. I mean, there are ads, (more on that later,) but the users don't have to pay to use the website.
This raises a lot of questions about the nature of our access to information. I think it can be defensively argued that YouTube, and Google and Wikipedia and Khan Academy, represent the first practical manifestation of a step into a post-scarcity economy -- the fundamental resource of intelligence has been stripped of all meaningful cost, and the only factor maintaining its value is artificially controlling access to it.[2. That idea should be enough to make anyone worry. Fortunately, it seems like Google has our backs.]