The phrase, information overload, was first used by sociologist and futurologist Alvin Toffler in 1970. His book “Future Shock” has sold over six million copies and can easily be considered the modern grandfather of prophetic insight into this theme.
I mean think of it, in 1970 a mouse was still a mammal, Texas instruments was just introducing its first barely portable “pocket calculator” (2.5 pounds) and Bill Gates was still mowing lawns ( I made the lawn mowing thing up but you get the point).
By the way, Toffler’s definition of “Future Shock” is a personal perception of “too much information in too short a period of time”, and that was back in the informational dark ages when a gigabyte was still a gigabyte.
Of course the game has changed. For instance in my last post I used the term Exabyte, a new word for me and others from the responses I got. So I did a little research and came up with a great article, a must read for the obsessed: http://www2.sims.berkeley.edu/research/projects/how-much-info-2003/execsum.htm
They did a great job of putting the Exabyte into perspective.
- How big is five Exabyte’s? If digitized with full formatting, the seventeen million books in the Library of Congress contain about 136 terabytes of information; five Exabyte’s of information is equivalent in size to the information contained in 37,000 new libraries the size of the Library of Congress book collections.
Now I have visited Library of Congress and it’s a term paper nightmare of unprecedented proportions. 37,000 of them? I don’t think so. (Probably why I don’t work for Google)
Ok so there is a whole bunch of information, so what?
That is the thread we are going to explore starting with our next post, starting with physiology. What do the smart guys have to say about how we are holding up, you know, little things like blood pressure, cognitive disruption and moon walking….Until then.