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Friday, January 15, 2010

Ignorance is bliss how human beings are addicted to information

Human beings at risk because we have always craved information. It's all evolutions fault according to a New Scientist Article (paper copy) that I picked up on today, in that evolution has hard wired our brain to rally want it as much as we want a chocolate bar (at my side as we speak)

Other people have talked about the dangers of information overload and whether it could bring dangers to man we haven't thought about. The article seems to think that we are automatons who have no sense of control. As my wife tells people, I'm an information junkie out of a sense of wanting to know. However even I know that there are limits so I decided last year that if my blogs unread count got over a certain figure, I wouldn't worry about it I'd just mark them all as read. I've found by experience that certain key articles come round again as new people find them.

What was interesting though is comments that the article makes when we suspect that people say in a corporate setting that people are withholding information from us and that this can lead to a breakdown in trust. - effectively an information hazard.for a variety of reasons - it might lead to where that lack of information dissemination means that we can't fully connect the dots. The article shows what happened in the UK over the MMR vaccine if there is a suspicion and a lack of trust that the authorities are withholding information. One scientists report was enough to generate a frenzy where a false idea was able to gain credence in peoples minds and caused havoc as people refused to have their kids vaccinated or if they were able to have the vaccine delivered in separate doses. It even got to the stage whete the PM at the time was asked repeatedly if his new son had had the MMR vaccine (he refused to answer - probably confirming peoples suspicions).

A final thought, the percentage of people with internet access in 1995 was 0 and the end of 2007 it had got to 24%. Global data traffic in petabytes (1 petabyte = 1 million gigabytes) per month in 2008 was 10000 by 2010 it will be c 21000 and by 20103 it is likely to be 55000.

This isgood news for server makers but also for KM practictioners a question?

  •  How do we help people to attend the KM equivalent of weight watchers and not overdose on information but get them focused and targeted informations? 
  • Are the new technologies going to support or overwhelm people in a corporate setting - or 
  • Do we accept that people won't be able to self regulate their information consumption effectively.

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