Great writeup. You're reminding me of some of Isaac Asimov's writing about the conflict between Spacers and Settlers. (Spacers built robots, let the robots take care of them and gradually stopped advancing. Settlers decided to go it alone without robots and their technology eventually surpassed the Spacers.)
Information will no longer be a luxury that only the educated and/or affluent people can afford.
Being someone who probably fits into your "educated and affluent" category (even though I have no money), I'm going to disagree with you. I think you might equally argue that the invention of a car would mean people would get less exercise.
Will people be able to get information easier? Sure. But there are several other barriers. For example, whether people want more information, and (if so) whether they know what they want.
As you mentioned in your writeup, most people can go to the library today. You also implied that going to the library is a burden that prevents many people from looking up information. I don't think it is.
People I know who don't visit the library usually don't because they don't care as much about learning. They have other things to do that they find more interesting, and knowing some extra trivia won't exactly enlighten them.
Most of the people I know who frequent the library are people who know they want to be there. They're interested in looking for information and learning things. It's possible that in the long term that these people might use the Internet more often - libraries might even disappear. (I hope not though.) Regardless of what the people who want to learn do though, I don't think easier information will have much effect on people who never really cared about it in the first place.
When every single person you run into could win the grand prize in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, information itself will lose some of its value.
But everyone could win it now, given the right resources. There's a reason that you're usually not allowed to take textbooks and topic material into an exam.
There's a finite amount of information that can be shovelled into you without knowing what you want, and you can't exactly look something up unless you know what it is. When people want to know something they'll usually find it out eventually anyway. All what you're suggesting might mean is that they'll find it faster than they would otherwise.
I haven't heard of problems with over-abundance of information, but I'm not sure how it'd be different from what radio and television did when they came in. Now people have learned not to believe everything they see and hear on it (one of the current problems with the net), and when they don't want the information they switch it off.
Maybe it'll change some things in how businesses work, but it's hardly going to make people smarter.
jesterzog Fight the light