HTT 093 – Over Consumption of Information

HTT 093 – Over Consumption of Information
May 31, 2016 Halftime Talks


Over Consumption: Access to Information is not enough.

It’s 7:30 am, the first activity on record is reaching for our device to see what went on in the world while we were sleep. After few minutes of swiping and headline reading our day can begin. This is the world in which we live in.

Media, content, and information lives in an over abundant state. Simple supply and demand states that in an over supplied market the value drops. We are witnessing the dumbing down of a populace in the face of access to the most information in human history. It’s an unforeseen paradox that has risen from the age of the internet.

In contrast, 25 years ago before the dawn of the internet era our access to information was a fraction of what it is today. The libraries served as silos of information. The engagement of sourcing new information required travel, movement, and time. Sheer curiosity may have required lugging home 25 pounds of books home. To learn about what was going on half way around our planet require story tellers, film crews, journalists and photographers.

Imagine a world 250 years ago in the late 1700’s. The extent to which you could learn or know was determined by the information passed down through the communities. Only a small percentage of people traveled 20 miles from their place of birth. Information came in the form of stories, rites of passage, or off of the exotic tongues of travelers who passed through the town while trades their goods or wares.

The Gutenberg Press invented in the mid-1400’s started a revolution. It was an early disrupter technology that revolutionized our access to information. Books became capsules of observation, imaginings, and knowledge that held the capacity to outlive the author. Literacy became the passport required to have access to worlds of interests.

One cannot help be take pause at the state in which we consume information. There is so much noise that it’s hard to hear the signal. Information has become a tool to sway the hearts and the minds of people. It has become an effective propaganda device to shape opinions. More people stand up as an authority from a very self-interested place.

The irony is that we have access to the very information which can liberate our thinking. We have access to information that can shine the spotlight on the over-hyped subjects that people are so ignorant about.

Access to information was lauded to be the magic pill to take our civilization forward. I disagree. The consumption of experience, information, and knowledge only begins to become valuable to the extent that it has been reflected upon and rendered. Our short attention spans seeks out summaries and bullets. We reach for easy consumable overview content. “Make it short and sweet,” clearly the best of both worlds. This become dangerous in that we are allowing the influencer render experience and take their word on the conclusions they have reached.

Where has the curiosity gone? The great many challenges we face today can be evaporated in the light of simple investigation. We have access to the 1st hand voices of those in which our stories may negatively portray. The responsible thing would be to seek out that 1st hand voice and allow what they say to be taken in unbiased by conventional dogma. It becomes less about right or wrong but a principle lesson in perspective. Perspective is determined by our relative proximity to unique experiences. Being open to seeing the whole picture we give ourselves the chance to become more empathic.

We consume and consume without rendering. Like in eating meals, we want to extract all the nutritional value possible in what we consume. We take for granted the wealth of information we have access to. It has become so tribalistic that people remain entrenched in their point of view and never bother to seek out a more wholistic understanding of the subject.

If you don’t learn how to use it, chances are it’s using you.