Some commentators suggest that society is on a relentlessly downward intellectual curve. One in five school leavers are functionally illiterate according to Sheffield University. TV programmes about poor people having arguments and reality shows are commonplace, but interesting, challenging programming is in decline. Yah-boo politics seems to be on the rise. Sound-bite news items proliferate, edging out rigorous debate and argument. Is this simply a reflection of how we lead our lives nowadays or should we worry about an encroaching infantilism in society? In a nutshell, is the world getting smarter or dumber?