INFOJUNK: MORE INFORMATION INFLUENCES SERIOUSLY HEALTH
“After the world takes a delusional path, we must adopt a delusional vision” Jean Baudrillard
HELP, OVERLOADING! THE ASSESSMENT OF A “INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE”
For some years I suffer from a strange modern “mental illness,” which for some psychologists is also the disease of the 21st century. I suffer from information (Infoneurosis). This bizarre neurosis is due to the “informational overwork” that I have been through all these years as a journalist in Media publishing, constantly swimming in a vast ocean of information.
I ended up in this situation because I was still an Infomaniac, a man of information, who consumed greedily almost any information he found in front of him. At the beginning, on Monday, I liked geography and that’s why I began to learn from the outside all the capitals, populations and lands of the Earth’s lands. Then my interest turned to history by sucking names of historical figures, battles and chronologies that I knew from the outside and stirring. Then I “stuck” in demography and anthropogeography, gathering information on demographic growth rates, future projections of populations as well as data on ethnic constitutions of all the states in the world.
Finally, before I finish school, I gained the absolute addiction for every informational, self-respecting: statistics. Statistics are considered the “queen” science for Infomaniacs, as it can be applied everywhere and constantly produces information and data. If an informationalist sticks to the “microbe” of statistics then, by the end of his life, he can be sure his mind will be constantly busy processing information.
For a number of years I have been a typical informationalist. I was searching for information everywhere and always, and I was devouring it with remarkable greed. I made an unstoppable tap on the TV, constantly changed the station on the radio, scanned three magazines, and scanned my eyes two three newspapers a day. The “ticking” of information from the old newspaper cage took on the characteristics of the ritual.
There was no way I could be in a place with newspapers and magazines and not read their contents. I could not resist the attraction of information! I read many books constantly, reaching some time reading 17 books at the same time! When I first joined the Internet, I felt like I was in the IT Paradise. I was connected with hours, sleepless and fed with Junk-food. And what information packs I did not download in my first Internet excursions!
Worrying about the information in the end I ended up a neurotic collector of useless to most of the information. My mind gave the impression of a “recycle bin” in which hundreds of gigabytes of “bulk information” had been thrown out. I sometimes remember that I had the impression that my brain was burning out of informal overload, like the brain of Mnemonic Johnny, who, despite the artificial expansions of his memory, “burned” out of the information pack of the 100 gigabytes loaded with the retired scientists of the Japanese drug company Ono-Sendai for transportation.
Maybe my brain was not burned, but it was blocked, which led me to the information.
The symptoms of this condition were diffuse nervousness, feelings of anxiety and loneliness, insecurity, loss of self-esteem, a sense of loss of control in my life, etc. I did not realize that I was not the only one I suffered from information, as I shared this condition with the majority of people who were involved with so-called information professions.
I noticed that journalists, advertisers, managers and business executives, professors, doctors, lawyers, brokers and other professionals also suffered from over-reporting information and were kneeling from “informational overcrowding.” I have also read some relevant scientific studies that testify to the existence of this modern “neurasthenia”.
The American Media Ecology Professor, Neil Postman, has already classified information in pathological situations that require similar treatment: You know, there are people who can not stop reading whether we are talking about a newspaper or the ingredients on the Corn box Flakes. Only television is more tempting than reading, because the latter requires constant alertness. With TV it’s just the opposite. People sit down, open it and let it contain them with images. ”
For his part, the British psychologist David Ljudic, who proposed that information be introduced to the medical dialect, argued that “the combination of so many information and parameters leads to a stalemate and makes it difficult to choose the right solutions and decisions.”
Okay, I admit that I was a “patient” of over-information, but I still had some rations and rationality to investigate in depth with the analysis of the problem. If not to help me, at least to help you read me.
WASTE IN INFORMATION WASTE
So I did not realize that we are drowning in our informational waste. This frantic disclosure of everything, the superabundance of images, the “direct transmission” of events, creates an ocean of raw information that floods our everyday life and smothers us.
These ‘signals’, the information that bombards us today on television, the Internet and the press is much more than we can assimilate. The excess of information, this infallible informational defecation, spreads indifferently and superficially in all directions by following the “law of jam”: the more it spreads, the more it thins, that is, it does not produce knowledge.
The gulf of computer processing lies at the root of the problem. We produce much more information than we can consume. There is, therefore, a large dimension between raw information production and final processing and ‘consumption’. As we know, the “river” of information we produce swells over time.
We increase the production of raw information at a rate of 10% per annum, while consuming at just 3%, which means that a unused 7% is left behind as infrequent information (Infojunk). (In the period 1999-2003 raw information production reached an astonishing 30% per annum).
In the last 25 years, mankind has produced more information than the previous 5,000 years ago! A today’s Sunday newspaper has more information than a 17th-century European could assemble throughout his life.
Everywhere around us there is an oversupply of information. See, for example, the kiosks – this unique offer of modern Greece in modern culture – that are at risk of being covered by hyperinflation of magazines. Sunday newspapers have been turned into paper volumes that contain almost everything. What a great time for an Infomaniac!
800MB of Information: ANNUAL PRODUCER INFORMATION
It is obvious, therefore, that information per capita is rising rapidly over time. A 2003 research by Dr. Peter Lyman and his colleagues showed that each year 800MB of information is produced per person on the planet.
On the other hand, the total amount of information that mankind will produce in 2004, stored in all sorts of instruments, will be double that of 2000! A 90% of the information produced in that year has long been outdated and of value only to historians of the future: a material that can only be exploited by using some future supercomputers.
Although CD-Roms are constantly gaining ground as storage media, paper still remains popular: Information in books, magazines and other publications has increased by 43% over a three-year period (1999-2003). The researchers calculated that only in 2002 the information stored on paper, film, magnetic or optical media reached five hexadecimal million bytes. The number is astronomical as it exceeds 500 times the contents of the Library of Congress, ie 10TB (DataTrack) data in 19 million volumes and 56 million manuscripts.
Of course, more information was transmitted by electronic means such as telephone, radio, television and the Internet. In 2002, the amount of this information reached 18 Exabytes, of which 98% corresponds to voice telephone calls. Of course, it should be noted that most of the total information being handled is not new production but repeats: Of the 320 million hours of radio broadcasting, only 70 million hours were new material. On television, only 32 million hours out of a total of 123 million hours of broadcasting were not re-published.
Finally, it was calculated by the same researchers that an average American has 46% of his time in receiving and transmitting information. Specifically every month speaks 16.17 hours on the phone, listens to 90 hours of radio shows and sees 131 hours of TV.
As far as Internet users are concerned, they spend about 25 hours connected from home and another 74 hours from their office. Quite the conclusion of this research is that we produce more and more information from time to time but we can not manage it. And this fact is far from happy.
NO LIMITS IN INFORMATION
It is a common secret that the “free” cheap information of the media, we actually pay for it. Media, and television in particular, are making ocean pictures “in which there is nothing to be seen, no traces of images, no shadow, no consequences.
Only this is what these images are: the trace of some vanished thing “(Jean Baudrillard). What would happen, the postmodern French philosopher Jean Boutrieir wonders, “if the information no longer had to do with the event but it was about promoting and producing the information itself as an event?”
Since, in the postmodern era, information tends to become a reality, we should focus a little more on the qualities of information that is considered the basis of modern economics and society.
Information is an intangible primary resource, which is literally inexhaustible, as it extends as long as it is used. It grows exponentially, that is, with geometric progress, since consuming information we automatically produce new ones. There are no limits to limiting the expansion of information. Its ultimate limitation, its ultimate “growth limit” is only time.
The information also has another property, that of diffusion. It tends to escape in every direction and the more it is lost, the more it is enriched. Nothing is totally impermeable to “insure” the information. And that’s why it is almost impossible to have a monopoly on information today, but on the contrary there is a tendency for informational decentralization.
The above qualities can make the information a “high-quality power”, on the other hand they also make the “informational savior” uncontrollable and therefore difficult to handle. This is because Infojunk has all the diffusing properties of information, but it does not have all its other positive features.
Knowledge is known as the basis of Knowledge. It can reach the level of Knowledge – a product of expertise – with the objective processing of raw information. Assimilated Knowledge is generally considered to be Wisdom.
Summing up the “Pyramid” Information-Knowledge-Wisdom Thomas Eliot had said, “The information is horizontal. Knowledge is structured and hierarchical. Sophia is organic and flexible. ” But this is a healthy pyramid shape, as far as the editable information is concerned. As for raw information and Infojunk, these are the scourge of people in the computer age, as they do not lead to knowledge but to information.
EXCELLENT INFORMATION SERIOUSLY HAPPENS MENTAL HEALTH
The information that surrounds us is morbid, both from its garbage information and from the uncontrolled hyperinflation of the raw information it produces. The entire “mass media system is silent, drowned by the amount of communication it causes,” notes Ignacio Ramone, director of Le Monde Diplomatique. This amount of communication information is not necessarily good. The opposite.
Over-information seriously harms our health. Our fury to eradicate our ignorance has cast us into the trap of over-information. Lost literally in a vast ocean of raw information that we produce, we feel like hopeless shipwrecks, weak in front of the vast “information waves” that threaten to swallow us.
Dale Brauns, a communications expert at the University of Illinois, warns that the persistence of many people in the news seriously harms their mental health. Following the events of September 11, the public in the West, fearing the possibility of other terrorist attacks, began to look for more and more information, but ultimately the citizens ended up being more informed but at the same time unlimitedly nervous, insecure and anxious.
For Browser, a writer of the Information and Uncertainty Management article, published in the Journal of Communication, it is normal that we need to collect information to overcome our fears. However, on many issues, we have to distance ourselves from “news bombing”, for example from the issue of bioterrorism, where all suddenly became “experts” and talked about carbon bark and others.
What is needed is a golden balance between vigilance and compulsive tendency for information. In contrast to the theory of the American professor, Bari Gander, a spokesman for the British Society of Psychology and a professor of journalism at Sheffield University, told the BBC that when the public understands the cause of his phobia, he feels he has more control over his condition . By reducing the uncertainty, the person feels he is more in control of the situation and feels less stressed.
But there is even greater danger. Broken under unrealistic amounts of useless information, people seem to have gone through the act of imitating the act. Managers imagine that they run, the creators are creating, the researchers are investigating and teachers are teaching.
Everyone is in a “supposedly” state of affairs, giving the impression that they are doing something, and they are actually rotting and recycling themselves and themselves. When they get tangled, they cover their lack of authenticity by giving a large amount of non-essential information.
This is one of the well-known “advocacy tricks”: when one side asks for information, the other tries to fill its shortcomings with a plethora of unnecessary and useless data. This has become another point of our time, talking constantly without actually saying anything. At the beginning of the 21st Century, in this vast ocean of information, we do not live in spite of the deposition of the morphology.
THE SIMPLE IS BEAUTIFUL
In addition to the over-information for many people, the complexity of high-tech emerges as a tyrant, similar to Infojunk. Today’s devices are so complex that they lead you to despair. If you accidentally click on a button in your oven, then you must read through its entire user manual to understand what’s in the blame and does not work. The complexity of high technology is becoming increasingly intolerable.
Even simpler devices, which once operated at the touch of a button or the switch of a switch, now accept digital commands that require long study. Many TVs that are connected to video devices, DVDs, decoders and computers do not light up or turn off unless dozens of options are studied in each of their many remotes.
The same horrific situation exists in modern “smart” cars, where, for example, the engine control light comes on, the driver can not just open the bonnet and take a look at the engine. He must use a special computer to diagnose where the engine is damaged. Of course, consumers themselves want to have a complex device in their hands because they have a sense of control, and then they complain that they can not operate.
This tyranny of digital control does not even affect all ages. Teens and young consumers are highly adaptable and quickly find the way to conquer the sophisticated devices. But older people do not. For this reason, some electronics manufacturers have already taken into account consumers’ displeasure towards complex devices and have planned to build particularly simple models.
For example, the Japanese electronics company Teac created the “Nostalgia” series of stereo systems that operate with simple switches. Some of the “retro” radios in the series have the appearance of 1930s, while others are reminiscent of those of the 1950s. These products record incredible success, demonstrating consumer wishes for devices that do not require technical knowledge to operate.
THE REMOVED ATTENTION IS THE NEW “HARD CURRENCY”
In our time the information has been transformed from a code of communication into a collective punishment. The same masculine culture, which is also a vast sea of ??information that is constantly destroyed, is mixed with each other and turns into a “fuss”.
There was at one point the fear that this mass culture would take up all the Western people’s leisure time, as long as the short working hours, holidays, car use and technology were released after the 1960s a year. But this free time was soon taken over by Infojunk.
One of the main sources of “information” is advertising, which since the 1960s has flourished. The storm of advertisements, the soon-to-be ‘mini-movie’ spots, tried to capture our attention – The ‘hard currency’ of the computer age.
In Greece, a person sees about 1,500 promotional messages per day. Out of these messages, 85% do not even touch it, 10% cause negative reactions, and only 5% are of interest, although most forget it within 24 hours.
On the other hand, outdoor ads, located on all Greek roads, are killing. This is another crime, which involves the installation of thousands of open-air giant carriages in avenues. Drivers’ attention is distracted by these signs and are thus fatal accidents. It is estimated that as a result of advertising giants, the incidence of car accidents increases by 40%, a very low percentage.
According to Yannis, chairman of the Association of Greek Transportation Engineers, “on the billboards, and those in the video, the eye focuses on 2.5 to 3 seconds, ie 5 to 6 times more time being distracted by driving.” These above seconds of the driver’s captured attention, in some cases, are death.
INFOJUNK AND INFODIAMONDS: WHO WILL HELP THE INTERNET?
In our time, the global information market amounts to $ 10 trillion a year, which accounts for 50% of the industrialized countries’ GDP. This information market will increase the gap between rich and poor people and rich and poor countries. Rich will be those who will have access to the information networks, while poor ones will not be able to connect.
Rich countries will be essentially knowledge societies, based on communication and information networks. Spearhead is the Internet. However, this promising “information avenue” is already suffering from Infojunk.
The quality of the content of the information we find on the Internet raises many concerns for its users. The lonely internauts “sailors” of the Internet increasingly use the term “Infojunk” to characterize the quality of information on the Internet. However, for some, what is ‘infogem’ (valuable information) for others is ‘Infojunk’, ie information pollution for digital dumps.
In the complex and chaotic space of the Internet, where everyone goes looking for “quality” information, it is very difficult to establish rules on the quality of information. Of course, in the pre-Internet era, there was a problem of discrimination in the quality of information.
The internet has, however, intensified this problem: information can only be assessed by the number of consumers, but not by their objective value. And there is no longer a way to use the “official” ways of classifying and evaluating information (eg from university researchers), which have many flaws, as barometers.
It is therefore inevitable that sooner or later there will be a number of “intermediaries” on the Internet (smart search engines or professional internet journalists) who will help us to identify the “infodunk” puzzles (“infojunk”) relatively easily informative “diamonds”).
It was unfair to say that Nel Postman, a professor of media ecology, in 1991 told a conference of the International Federation of Publishers that future journalists would not come out of schools of journalism but of schools of philosophy and theology! In a world that is increasingly plagued by over-information, the journalist’s job will be to analyze, organize and interpret this information mess.
We all need somebody to do the “dirty work” and scrap this informative mess that floods us. The one who will do so will undoubtedly be the master of the future, since the one who controls information flows controls the world as well.
With Infojunk immortalizing us, having become the new “demon” that threatens to turn our lives into hell, many people are already dreaming of returning to a life of lesser intelligence. Some of them have been tempted to return to the closed valley of traditions and turn their backs on technology. These will be the primates of tomorrow.
Others again have the illusion that they can control over-information and thus become intellectuals “on every science”, the viticulture philosophers of the computer age. In the end, they become “infobucolics”, “information boats” who think they know everything while they know nothing: victims of the superficial information of the media.
START “INFORMATION DIFFERENCE”
The solution to Infojunk’s threat is to start thinking seriously about starting an informative diet while learning what we can do about our “information-metabolism”. Informative diet and selective information is a solution, but not for everyone. It presupposes, besides awareness of the problem, the will and – the most important – intellectual cultivation. Selective information requires, above all, the ability to evaluate information.
However, few can distinguish the quality of information. Most absorb the data without a second thought, without criticism or treatment. Those who achieve this can and convert information into Knowledge. And the few who eventually assimilate Knowledge convert it into Sophia.
But in our times there are not many connoisseurs and wise men. On the contrary, surface and semi-mature people, and in general all who perceive a single level of reality, abound. But reality is complex and multidimensional, which is difficult for most people to understand, not Infojunk’s victims.
Information literacy also requires knowledge of the limits of our stamina and in particular a clear knowledge of our “informative metabolism”. This is because the “metabolism” of information differs from person to person, since everyone does not have the same ability to select, process and classify information. There are people who can read a whole book within a few hours, as well as locate their “nodal” meanings without any difficulty.
There are people who read books, listen to music and watch television. They do not imitate. They Really Read, Listen and See. Their brain functions as an extractor and processor with highest performance! They are people with great ability to ‘informative metabolism’. They are not drowned by Infojunk, but skilfully sketch their “waves”. But they are the exception, not the rule.
In most people, Infojunk has overloaded their nervous system, pulled their brains down and diminished their critical capacity. Thus, there is no other solution to the “informal diet”. Try as long as you can become informal.
If you have not already started, do it now!
What is important is quality information.
Stop polluting your mind with Infojunk!