We celebrate the power of communication. We hail the capabilities that we have created as the most ingenious human creation.
Ever since the Gutenberg press humans have accelerated the spread of knowledge, right or wrong notwithstanding. Network technology made this even faster.
Communication is good. But, it is only as good as what is being communicated.
What has started as ‘information superhighway’ has become information wasteland. It’s been said that only a tiny fraction of information available in the world is actually useful information. And I don’t disagree. There are no shortage of instances where superfluous information has brought results that are no better than having had no information.
We no longer can tame or control the living beast that is the information network. It has life of its own. It no longer exists to serve the human race. It’s fueled by its mere existence and promotes self replication. The path it takes and its destiny is no longer dictated by us humans. All we can now do is, figure out a way to extract the bits that benefit our lives. We need to learn how to filter information. We need to be able to extract the signal from the noise. This will require strenuous training and self-discipline. Otherwise, we will drown in the wastelands.
The Signal and the Noise – by Nate Silver is an intriguing read that is all about filtering information.