Information Creation: To What End?

It’s hard to avoid information. Not only do we live in a world full of it, making it nearly impossible to escape, but for some perverse reason, we actually like it.

Is it too much yet?

Indeed, we like it so much that we continuously create more of it and have even designed machines to do this for us as well.  In addition, we frequently compile information into metrics and ratios that describe other information.

A recent survey by a computer company showed that 90% of information was only looked at once after it was created.  The current Basex survey on how knowledge workers work already tells us that 50% of us spend one to two hours of our days creating information – and 15% spend more than three hours.  (If you haven’t already taken the survey, click here to do it now .)

Is this figure simply too high and are we in fact simply creating more information, not for its value but purely for the sake of making the pile bigger?

As we go about our day, it might be wise to cast a critical eye on our work that results in the creation of more information and ask ourselves some hard questions.  One, what is the practical purpose of the information that we are creating, and two, is it important enough to justify burdening others with it?

A quote generally attributed to Albert Einstein notes that “[N]ot everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

Perhaps it would do us all good to think about why we are creating so much information, and whether perhaps we could get by with a bit less of it.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

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