Coping with the Knowledge Age

Get your head around this.  According to Prof Urs Gasser who is the Executive Director of the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society, and the author of “Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives,” the following is true:

  • Researchers around the world are deliberating over the question of how the meaning of “knowledge” alters in a society which produces so much information in a single year that it will fill 12 parallel stacks of books reaching from the Earth to the sun.
  • If all information on the Internet were to be written down, it would take 57,000 years to get through it all – reading non-stop 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Wikipedia is yet another example of users collectively amassing information and moulding it into a comprehensive digital encyclopaedia of surprisingly high quality. It now comprises 14 million articles written in many different languages, mostly by slightly older Internet devotees, but keenly used by the digital adolescents.
  • According to an EU study, the current stock of freeware is the equivalent of 131,000 man years of work. As the development work is largely under remunerated, the estimated annual added value of Euro 800 million is not reflected in the balance sheets for the economy.

So, how will we attempt to get across this vast avalanche of information that is not only immense in size, but is coming at us at such a rapid rate?

Will we need to employ “Information Sifters” to sort through the myriad of information and get to the crux of what we’re after?  One thing is for certain, we won’t be able to sort it through ourselves.