Toronto, Canada (PressExposure) September 20, 2011 -- Information Experts Nick Bontis and James Gleik have both identified information overload as one of today's most formidable threats to modern society.
"Finding a particular piece of knowledge, separating it from the flood of nonsense is our most serious problem," said James Gleik, author of "The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood," in a recently broadcast PBS interview.
"I couldn't agree more with Mr. Gleik," says Dr. Nick Bontis, author of "Information Bombardment: Rising above the Digital Onslaught." "Our biggest problem is we have no idea how to filter, organize and prioritize all the information we receive."
According to Dr. Bontis, noise contaminates every aspect of our lives. Junk mail, spam, sales pitches, gossip and propaganda saturate our attention spans. Dissecting real knowledge from today's barrage of information is like searching for dry land in the midst of the ocean.
Mr. Gleik described in the interview all new information technologies are associated with anxieties and fears. "People in the early era of the printing press worried about what it would mean when there were just too many books," stated Gleik.
"The key word here is cumulative codified information," says Dr. Bontis. "This term refers to all information recorded in the world since it began. Information previously doubled in quantity over centuries; today it doubles in less than a day!"
Bontis cites several recent events resulting from poor information management. In each, information bombardment obscured valuable knowledge that could have thwarted the subsequent disaster. Examples include:
* Hurricane Katrina's devastation on New Orleans
* The attacks of 9/11
* The Columbia shuttle disaster
* Failure to "connect the dots" prior to the Christmas Day terrorist plot
* The Great Recession of 2008
"Information bombardment is without discrimination," says Bontis. "Individuals, organizations and even institutions are affected. One doesn't have to search hard to find examples of how too much information created massive catastrophes."
In his book, Dr. Bontis offers strategies to deal with information bombardment ranging from techniques for individuals to global institutions. This timely advice is important in order to gain control of what both authors see as a major modern concern.