Rethinking the Value of Information

“And the fear that keeps us awake at night is not that all this information will cause us to have a mental breakdown, but that we are not getting enough of the information we need” (Weinberger 9).

      In Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock (1970), the encounter of information overload would induce varying levels of anxieties. In today’s world, we have come to accept this baggage. Although with an abundance of hesitation, we as individuals have become just as comfortable in the virtual world, if not more, than the reality remaining outside our desktops. Even being a millennial raised in the dawning of the technological era, it is overwhelmingly apparent that the profusion of readily available information via Internet has created a new pressure amongst eager intellectual beings. With the growing accessibility of a computer, the serenity I find in reading a book is beginning to appear archaic.

We want to be instantaneously knowledgeable, and we are never satisfied with the answer of uncertainty, so there lingers the anxiety of whether or not we are getting enough of the information we need. Weinberger swoops in for the save, and reassures us that this is exactly why we have filters (Algorithmic techniques and social tools). He says, “Algorithmic techniques use the vast memories and processing power of computers to manipulate swirling nebulae of data to find answers. The social tools help us find what’s interesting by using our friends’ choices as guides” (9).

The problem is that we as a society have always agreed that knowledge is power (I don’t disagree), but now without the limitations of publishing, everyone believes his or her ‘expertise’ on subject matter is important to share with the world. We have this newfound pressure to be knowledgeable, and rather than readily admitting we may not be knowledgeable in a particular subject, we use unconventional, lavish language to detour our lack of expertise in the subject, which is normally led by insufficient biases. There is no authority, and it leads us to wonder whether the information we are getting is valuable.


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