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The Information Revolution

I was sitting quietly last night enjoying a moment of relative silence and started thinking about how rare silence has become for all of us.  Even as someone who truly appreciates silence,  I find it increasingly difficult to isolate myself, to turn off the constant bombardment of auditory and visual stimuli that pervades my world.

Why is it so difficult to do this, to turn off the onslaught of stimuli that has come to define our “Information Age”- you know the computers, cell phones, television, iPods, white noise, etc.?  Even text messages which I thought would be a great way to keep in touch with my kids, have over-run my ability to respond; and laughing, it has given my cell phone company another way to charge me.

Apparently I am not alone. The first Commercial text message was sent in December of 1992.  Today, the number of text messages sent and received every day, exceeds the total population of the planet.  That a lot of J and no ICBW.  YGTBKM but sadly I am not.  (You have to guess or check out the this link. 

As far as the sound goes, don’t worry; I have a new pair of Bose noise cancellation headphones.  I wore them to the grocery store last week and thoroughly enjoyed the experience although my wife chided me for looking like a total nerd and to be honest they were not all that quiet.  They work best if you blast in your IPod music which sort of negates the “cancellation part of their promise”, but I am nitpicking. YWHNB. (For those who are digital immigrante, that means “Yes we have no bananas”)  Stay sharp now.

In all seriousness, we have coined the phrase, “The Undisturbed Life” and for the last year we have worked tirelessly to manifest a working model of that concept, so the subject of “Information Overload” is germane to that effort.

In the next few months we will be sharing our insights into both subjects; but before we start I thought it would fun to share a few interesting facts about the world of information.

  • It is estimated that 4 Exabyte’s (4.0×10^19) of unique information will be generated this year. That is more than the previous 5,000 years.  The amount of technical information is doubling every 2 years.
  • For students starting a four year technical degree this means that half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study.
  • During the last minute, 67 babies were born in the US, 274 babies were born in China, 395 babies were born in India, and 694,000 songs were downloaded illegally.  (Bose might be right)
  • It is estimated that a week’s worth of the New York Times contains more information that a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century.
  • We are living in exponential times – There are 31 billion searches on Google every month. In 2006, this number was 2.7 Billion.
  • The 2013 a supercomputer will be built that exceeds the computational capabilities of the human brain. Predictions are that by 2049 a $1000 computer will exceed the computational capabilities of the entire human species
  • There are over 200 million registered users on MySpace. If MySpace were a Country it would be the 5th largest in the world (between Indonesia and Brazil)

So how is this going to work?  How can we profess to the “The Undisturbed Life” as Birthright when we also observe that we are becoming increasingly barraged with XXXbytes of data, competing for our attention, money and time?

How are we to survive the deluge? And I do think survival is the right word; for anyone – with even a iota of common sense – can see are all the suffering, mentally, physically and spiritually.