Reducing Information Pollution

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Information Overload

Information Overload and Mindfulness

March 5, 2018 | Posted By

When I started working on mitigating Information Overload at Intel, back in the mid-90s, it was all about email overload, and the solutions we worked on then were all about how to send less and better email, sort and process incoming email faster and more sensibly, and – once we figured out the underlying cultural causes – improving norms and expectations within the organization. Nobody even considered Mindfulness then…

But recent years have seen a rapid change in the public’s awareness of Mindfulness in general, and this is fast moving into the info overload space. Just Google “Information overload and mindfulness”! People are realizing that mindfulness and meditation techniques are useful components in the battle on the hijacking of our focus and attention by the incessant incursion of messages and social media. It’s a good trend, and I recommend you pay attention to it.

Three friends of IORG are particularly active in this matter:

  • IBM’s Lele Terenzani, a.k.a. “Dr. Connections”, runs a very enjoyable Webcast series called “The present show”, dedicated to communications and mindfulness.
  • Lawrence Ampofo has a Podcast series on his Digital Mindfulness site, where he interviews key thinkers in this area,
  • David Levy, a longtime crusader against the distractions decimating our ability to think, has now published “Mindful tech”, a book where he proposes actions and exercises to develop a more mindful attitude to our technology.

Enjoy!

Artificial Intelligence, Information Overload, and the Library of the Future

February 22, 2018 | Posted By

Recently I was invited to give a keynote lecture at the XV International Conference on University Libraries in Mexico City last month. The conference was dedicated to the changing role of university libraries, and their place in the United Nations’ “Agenda 2030” program. My lecture, titled “Libraries and Knowledge in the Age of Information Overload”, took a close look at the impact of today’s pervasive state of Information Overload on the academic library, and vice versa.

Preparing this lecture was a fascinating experience for me, as was the knowledge exchange at the conference. Libraries, after all, had served as key vehicles for the dissemination of knowledge since ancient times, yet today far more knowledge than we could ever process is available online. Who needs libraries, then?

The conclusions I reached are that libraries will definitely retain their relevance, but their role is already changing. Rather than maximize access to information, they need to help their users filter knowledge, weeding out the fake and the irrelevant and helping them apply the latest techniques – including those enabled by computer science – to home in on what they really need. And amusingly, one reason students and faculty flock to their university library is to seek refuge from information overload – even when the information is accessible from the outside, the library provides a haven from distractions that is very precious.

You can read my report about all this in an article I published, accessible here.

Task errors by emergency physicians are associated with interruptions, multitasking, fatigue and working memory capacity: a prospective, direct observation study

February 8, 2018 | Posted By

Information Overload Exhausting Americans

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What Can We Do About our Teens’ Smartphone Addiction?

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Libraries and Knowledge in an Age of Information Overload

December 13, 2017 | Posted By

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