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March 03, 2008

Comment on Information Overload debate hosted by The Economist

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For those of you who are interested, here is my comment on the information overload debate hosted by The Economist and CA (Computer Associates) as mentioned in the previous post:  

Technology’s aim never was to simplify our lives. It’s idea is to improve our lives. Simplicity is certainly correlated with the latter goal, but it is not the same. The proposition’s statement (“…if the promise of technology is to simplify our lives, it is failing”) is therefore based on a wrong assumption.

However, it does point to something that many people complain about: technology is often stated as the culprit of information overload causing lost productivity, diminished quality of thought, increased level of stress and so on.

But also this statement is not correct. It’s not the technology itself, but the higher expectations that are set by our line managers, our friends, and ourselves. We could simply stop using technology to get information (it’s optional after all) but we would fall behind in comparison to what our colleagues or friends know.

Therefore you could say that technology is indirectly responsible because it enabled the development to our society where we are expected to be on top of the news. However technology is one of humanity’s greatest achievements which improved our lives in so many ways; the propositions statement sounds a little as if technology as a whole is put on trial.

Information overload should be regarded as an indirect by-product of technology with some negative effects; now the focus should be on finding ways on how to reduce those effects. For this, technology itself might be the answer once again.

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