I'll try to keep this short.
During the medieval "dark ages" knowledge was produced by the clergy and kept in the Church. It was written in Latin in an age when most of the population was both illiterate and didn't speak that language. Knowledge was simply out of their reach, locked in the confines of monasteries and the like.
Nowadays the amount of knowledge that is produced on a daily basis is staggering, we have the internet and access to all sorts of information - and disinformation. In spite of all this, there are parallels between modernity and the medieval dark ages.
It starts with language: since English is the lingua franca
of science, wanting access to new scientific knowledge entails learning to speak it. In Brazil, for instance, where only a small portion of the population speaks English past an intermediate level, most of the population has to resort to other means. This is a set back for us and other developing countries, most of which do not speak English as a primary or even second language. The case can be made that even for native speakers of English, many cannot understand a technical research paper. Most of these papers are written by and for academics, not for the majority of the population, who in most cases don't understand the jargon, statistics and other technicalities.
During the dark ages, knowledge was the domains of the church. Fast forward several hundred years and monastic buildings are replaced by 'ivory towers', institutions of learning and research that produce the knowledge that most of the population does not consume. Sure the population does benefit from innovations and technologies that come out of that research, but when it comes to basic science, most are sadly illiterate, even with
the internet and mandatory schooling.
It's true nobody can hope to know everything but it alarms me to see just how alienated most people are. tl;dr:
Back during the dark ages, guardians of knowledge spoke Latin while most others did not, nowadays they speak English. Back then, the Church was responsible for producing knowledge, nowadays academics produce and consume it.