Other than the copious amount of death, nothing much has changed. While we as a species overall have gained more knowledge and technologies, an individual's capacity for knowledge can be just as abysmal now as it was then. Just like there was someone who was doomed to shovel shit until they died of the plague back in ye olde times, there's some poor sob who will be mopping pissy bathroom floors at the Cubs Stadium at 3 AM.
Some people do not have the capacity for knowledge overall, let alone specific schools of thought, that no number of classes can fix. There are things that I will for the life of me never understand, and there are things that I will pick up and retain immediately. For instance, network topology. I can't explain to you the extent that I cannot even begin to explain what I don't understand about it. It just doesn't make sense to me. I can explain the hell out of algorithm time complexity though.
|Left: Pretty simple stuff|
Right: Black magic. Seriously there's even a fucking Hexagram.
The standard for a "good" college education is a 4 year stint at a "accredited" institution, with the average of 10 classes per year. That's 40 classes. More often than not, only half of those will be relevant to your desired career path. So why the hell does anyone need those other 20 classes? As a Computer Science major, what good are two fine art classes going to do me? Outside of an ethics course, why do I need any humanities classes?
|"I modeled this encryption algorithm from the 3rd Stanza of the Fairie's song in A Midsummer Night's Dream"|
-No One, EVER
I get the idea behind college. There are too many people in the world for every person to apprentice under a master to learn their trade, and most apprentice work is now done by machines or minimum wage workers. College is necessary to import industry-level knowledge on students when it is impossible to provide hand's on experience for every potential student. That way when they're done with college they have all of the means to take on the world and get a great job that help pay off those 4 years of drowning debt.