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Information Overload is a Fake Problem | Scott H Young

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2020/01/27/info-overload-fake/

scotthyoung.com

Information Overload is a Fake Problem | Scott H Young
The internet reachable by Google has over a million terabytes of data. Every minute 300 hours of new video is added to YouTube. In the time it took to read this sentence, at least 10,000 new tweets have appeared on Twitter. We're drowning in information, so it's only natural to feel overwhelmed.

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Information overload

Information overload

We're drowning in information, yet the explosion of data hasn’t changed much about how we need to stay informed. 

The amount of original ideas worth learning is much smaller than the eve...

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Limited Good Ideas

Limited Good Ideas

If knowledge is growing exponentially, most of the ideas should have been discovered in the last few decades. Yet most ideas are old. The rate of genuinely good new ideas may be s...

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Why the Internet is So Big

The number of good ideas worth learning is still large enough that few can manage to understand more than the general outline of most ideas in their lifetimes. Yet, this was also true before...

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How We Relate to Information

Most people aren't genuinely interested in understanding and learning the essential ideas. They see information as entertainment, distraction or gossip.

If you are interested in unders...

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The Important Ideas

Ideas are important because of their frequency and utility. An Idea that keeps showing up and is being referenced when you're learning something else is worth learning on its own.

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The world in the 21st century is the same it used to be. It smells about the same, sound pollution is pretty stable. But the spill of information and distraction that comes to our vision has grown ...

Information overload

  • Information overload was a term coined in the mid-1960s by Bertram Gross, a social scientist.
  • In 1970, writer Alvin Toffler popularized the idea of information overload as part of a set of predictions about eventual dependence on technology.
  • Another set of academics wrote that information overload occurs when the amount of input exceeds its processing capacity.
  • A 2011 study found that on a typical day, Americans were taking in five times as much information as they had done 15 years earlier.
  • A 2019 study identified that our attention span is shrinking, probably because of digital overload.

Technology pushed too much

It is probably too late to restore our attention span to that of our grandparents. After a decade of smartphone use and social media, the harm is perhaps irreversible.

Part of the problem in this age of overload is the constant insistence of notifications that seeks our immediate attention. When the body jumps to attention and for nothing of particular worth, it can be confusing.

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Learning Slows Down with Age

Learning Slows Down with Age

Most aspects of mental processing slow down as we age. While we continue to accumulate knowledge of the world at a slower rate, we gain more experience that increases our wisdom.

Our minds tend to grow worse

Researchers disagree in their hypotheses about how our minds tend to get worse with age. What can be observed is the following:

  • Older individuals do struggle more with Stroop tasks, where an automatic habit needs to be overridden by instructions.
  • Older individuals have a harder time with multitasking.
  • Older people find it difficult to bind information that occurs in a combined context. It impacts their ability to remember life events.

However, older people seem to be better at emotional regulation.

Cognitive Reserve

Some people seem to age mostly with minds intact and others notice dramatic slowdowns. The brain appears to have a lot of redundancy built-in - known as cognitive reserve.

Education seems to have a protective effect on aging, possibly because education contributes to cognitive reserve.

Scott H Young

"People don’t judge you so much for who you are as they judge you for how you communicate yourself.&quo..."

Scott H Young

Be Funny and Interesting

  • Humor: It takes a lot of practice until you can figure out the natural timing and flow of a joke. Practice makes perfect.
  • Interest comes from having an interesting life. You can be interesting by telling stories  or by simply being quick to bring up an interesting fact.

Interest is similar to humor whenever people discover something they didn’t expect.

Tell Great Stories

  • You need to have an interesting point to make it worthwhile.
  • Your most interesting point should be the last thing you say in your story.
  • Keep it short.
  • Keep it personal. People prefer stories about people they know.
  • The more you tell a story the better you get the natural timing and emphasis.