Information Overload

Every day, we’re bombarded by information. When the first radio broadcasts came crackling over the airwaves at the beginning of the last century, there were many thinkers (mostly people who sold books and newspapers, mind you) who lamented that the quantity of information unleashed on the public would be more than the average person would be capable of processing. They were also gravely concerned about the quality of that information, without the influence of their impeccable editorial standards. A generation later, similar quality and quantity arguments were proposed by radio people, as they wrung their hands with worry about television. Not surprisingly, the same panic occurred over 500 years ago, when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. Every time there is a marked increase in the quantity of information available to the public (usually due to technological innovation) the same tired old arguments are trotted out. Now we have the…

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