"Anyone who has ever played the children's game Telephone--in
which one person whispers a phrase to the next person
in line, who then whispers the phrase to the next, and
so on, until the last person announces aloud a phrase
that invariably bears no resemblance to the original--knows
what can happen when even the simplest messages are passed
through intermediaries: "Have a nice day" turns
into "Get out of my way." If problem-identifiers
had to convey everything they were learning about the
needs of their customers upward to top management through
layers and layers of middle managers, while problem-solvers
had to convey everything they
were learning about new technologies upward through as
many layers, and then both groups had to await top management's
decisions about what to do--decisions which then had to
travel back down through the same bureaucratic channels--the
results would be, to say the least, late and irrelevant,
and probably distorted." -- Robert Reich, The Work of Nations
We are in the middle of a true revolution in media -- the change
from chemical processes to electronic ones. The amount of computational power a dollar can buy has grown a thousandfold
every two decades since 1900 and that rate shows no sign
of slowing down.
"Information ecology" see all digital forms of communications,
software and media as feeding a single dynamic system
of sequences of ones and zeros, flowing into each other
like streams and rives.
"Electronic networks are growing into a computational
membrane covering vast areas of the earth....:
Ted Nelson (Xanadu project) is trying to design a super-network
that would bring all published text, sound and film into
every home in the world.
Wang: 95% of business communication is paper, 5% automated.
Business stores 1.3 trillion pages of paper, enough
to paper the Grand Canyon 107 times! We add another 930 million pages/day.
information = that which reduces uncertainty
Order is no guarantee of understanding.
The key for making information understandable is getting through
the noise level.
Giving yourself permission not to know everything will make
you relax, which is the ideal frame of mind to receive new
A fact can be comprehended only within the context of an idea.
And ideas are irrevocably subjective, which makes
facts just as subjective.
If we were to analyze conversation, it would be more complex
than any writing, yet it is often more likely to lead to
understanding. The whole apprenticeship system of education
is based on the beauty of conversation.
We don't use conversation as a model because it is so obvious
and so natural that we don't see its perfection of form. It is exactly the way you think.
We communicate in a linear way. We think in an associative way.
People warn of the dangers of comparing oranges to apples,
when this is a perfectly reasonable comparison.
Everything has been thought of before, but the problem is to
think of it again. –Goethe
Alphabet, Location, Time, Continuum,
Number, or Category. A last way of organizing things can
often be Randomly (in other words, by not organizing them).
Businesses can modernize even their most mature products and
services by embedding information features and functions. --2020 Vision
computer started here
telephone started here
Within one or two decades each of us will possess the full
power of the information grid, not only on our desktops
at work but also in our bathrooms, cars, briefcases, and
Age of Access:
Whenever possible, the information component is stripped from
the tangible product and moved around the world....
Turbochargers recycle engine exhaust fumes to greatly increase
performance and power. Information exhaust can be captured,
processed, and recycled to improve business performance.
Opportunities exist to provide turbocharged information
services in all businesses and industries. The irony is that turbocharged information
service businesses often become worth more than the businesses
form which the information was generated in the first place.
Consider TV Guide (worth more than any network), OAG (worth about as much as U.S. Air), televised sports.
from Silicon Dreams by Robert Lucky
The cost of most electronic storage technologies decreases
by a factor of two every two to three years. Most people in the information business find
that despite this increased economy in storage, their total
expenditure for memory increases continually.
Information is leaky, that is, it runs through the narrowest
cracks and floods the area below.
Management of complexity is perhaps the most crucial problem
of our time. The
computer is a tool that manages complexity, and as such,
just as highways encourage more cars, the computer invites
more complexity into society.
Information is a hierarchy of organization:
wisdom -- distilled, integrated
-- info stored in our minds
U.S. per capita paper consumption has steadily risen from
200 # in '40 to 600 # in '80.
From the Gold Bug, the frequency of letters in English:
a o i d h n r s t u y c f g l m w b k p q x z
From The Impending Information
Implosion by Edward Tenner, Harvard
Even the Flat Earthers have a point. Sometimes the local picture
matters as much as the global one. Who takes a great-circle
route to the supermarket?
There are at least four ways to judge whether we have better
or worse information: cost, ease or difficulty of access,
variety of sources or viewpoints and clarity. None of these
has improved unambiguously over the last generation.
The toll-free 800 info services are threatened by the 900-line
concept. The Wall
Street Journal reports that the French government's
regular (toll) tourist info number now offers only a recording
that gives another 900 number at fifty cents a minute....
(Since the 70s, the price of the Journal
has gone form 15 cents to 75 cents.)
The real pitfall is not to overvalue or undervalue information,
or the amount of information available, but to be mesmerized
and anesthetized by it.