Too Much Information?

“Before Eisenstein’s work appeared in 1979, no one had attempted a comprehensive study of printing as the communications revolution essential to the transition from medieval times to modernity. Textbooks, as she noted, tended to slot the printing press somewhere between the Black Death and the discovery of America,” (The Information by James Gleick, 399)


While I was reading through James Gleick’s The Information this passage jumped out at me. After reading through the excerpt which kept talking about how saturated our culture has become with information over the past five hundred years, I came back  to this passage. It’s hard to believe that after five hundred years of information overload no one had really wrote about how the printing press and communication gave rise to modern times. This seems to contradict what Gleick is saying, because if we were really over saturated with information would not all views on history, including  Eisenstein’s, be available to everyone who is willing to search for it.  In order to reach an over saturation of information we would need to assemble every scrap of knowledge, and every single original idea. Although we have reached an age where it is much easier to find and access information about nearly everything, we have not reached this level of information. There are still a great many subjects on which we do not have any information at all. We are still searching for this information, and therefore have room for more. Only after we discover and create all of this information would our lives be truly over saturated. Until then our abundance of information can always be used to learn and create more.

Just as we are no longer astounded by the amount of information kept in books, a time will come when people will not be impressed with the amount of information the internet has to offer. Even now a generation is growing up to whom the internet is quite ordinary and who know how to navigate its vast collection of information. To this population information overload does not exist, they will be able to access information on the internet with ease. At the same time people who did not grow up with the internet are experiencing a very real information overload. There is more information than they are used to at their fingertips and until they will continue to experience information overload until they are able to navigate the immense quantities of information effectively and efficiently. Once this happens this information overload will pass until the next big information technology brings a new overload upon us.



2 thoughts on “Too Much Information?”

  1. I agree that we are not yet over saturated with information, but I believe that part of the article has to do with much of the unnecessary information that we now have access to and are sometimes expected to know. The whole essay is based on the idea that our brains have a maximum capacity and I do think that today much more of that capacity is filled with unnecessary information.

  2. I have to agree with the belief that Gleick is incorrect about the increasing amount of information processed today due to the his belief that information is found in every physical thing that exists, not merely facts and opinions presented to us through our contemporary technology. Modernization has stimulated our interest in the information carried through computers, phones, and televisions as we push for a global communication system. As a result, we have begun to pay less attention to the information presented in the details of our surroundings today.

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