I think we're looking at something more on the scale of the development of writing, a couple millennia or so before that.
Our ability to search, sort, and manipulate information today is unlike anything humanity has experienced before.
For a very long time, information storage and retrieval was limited to what people could remember, and re-tell. Stories told around a fire at night were a way to transmit ideas, stories, and values from person to person, and from one generation to another.
The first big breakthrough in information technology was writing, several thousand years ago. For the first time, people were able to store information externally, instead of relying entirely on what could be memorized and held within the human brain.
Movable type was the next important development. Printing presses with movable type made it possible to mass-produce written documents much more rapidly, efficiently, and accurately than was possible with hand-lettered documents.
The result was still a written document: produced in unprecedented quantity, and available at very low cost. Book ownership was no longer limited to the extremely wealthy and large institutions. Fast, relatively inexpensive distribution of information became possible.
Written documents are an excellent information storage medium, but one with very limited search functions, and no ability to sort of otherwise manipulate the stored information.
When I was young, externally-stored information was almost entirely static. We relied on our ability to read books, magazines, and other written documents for almost all access to the recorded store of humanity's knowledge and wisdom. Sound and video recordings not static in one sense, but it was more difficult to search for information in them, than in a book with an index.
Today, an increasing amount of information is in a dynamic medium: one in which information can be searched and manipulated in a way that would have been literally science fiction in my youth.
The change from storing information in a static medium to storing it in a dynamic one is a radical change.
Writing made it possible for us to store information outside our heads: indefinitely. That made it possible for ideas to be
- Recorded in extreme detail
- Transmitted across generations without depending on the vagaries of human memory
- Brought together from vast distances in time and space - in effect bringing together minds separated by thousands of miles, and years
The transition from handwritten documents to documents created by movable type was very significant, but didn't change the basic nature of writing. We still used permanent marks on a relatively flat surface to record and transmit information.
Now, in addition to the information storage and transmission power of written language, we have the ability to take stored information and rapidly perform tasks that are time-consuming, at best, with written documents: