Infoxication and information overload: in due measure without overdoing it


The first world no longer remembers the dearth of years gone by. Quite on the contrary, today’s excess of nutrients has reached such a pass that illnesses like obesity are becoming an increasingly worrying trend. Our problem is no longer feeding our children but controlling their diet to avoid overweight.

Likewise, our civilization has been storing up a huge amount of information over the years. Kept in libraries and archives until the advent of computers, nowadays it is dumped on the net together with the ongoing generation of today’s slew of information.

It has always been claimed that information is power. Maybe we should tweak this old adage. Real power likes in knowing how to manage and use this store of knowledge, separating the grain from the chaff and then drawing from each grain its maximum value without straying into the territory now variously known as “infoxication”, “infobesity”, “information overload”, “information glut”. . .

The deluge of information generated by social media, emails, public services, etc, kept and mined with hi-tech means in an ethical manner, can be turned into the most cherished good, capable of boosting our quality of life just as a healthily balanced diet does.

Going back to our starting simile, information can also turn septic if not handled with proper care. To head off a new pandemic – i.e., personal defenselessness to a creeping loss of privacy or information saturation – we clearly need now to take all due precautionary measures.

Several voices have now been raised calling for more watchfulness from both government and companies to prevent this defenselessness from becoming rampant.  Legislation, ethical and behavioral codes, for example. At the same time others are calling for a raising of public awareness about the importance of managing and using this information properly, just as there are campaigns to encourage healthy eating. Information, like food, of the right quality is assimilated in its due measure, kept in the right place without upsetting the system.

Just as nobody would be harmed by a food-handling course, equally useful would be lessons on how to use information properly. The adverse effects of personal information overload, of careless custody procedures or infoxication, might be just as harmful to our health as a food binge. Staying healthy is not the sole responsibility of governments or companies; it is also the personal remit of each individual.

Adrift in an ocean of data, belted by tidal waves of information and battered by technology, we are on the verge of floundering from information overload. With the summer rest in the offing, now might be the ideal time to switch off from all these excesses so that, on our return to routine, we can pursue a discerning diet that pre-empts infoxication, overeating and information overload.

Author: Maole Cerezo

Las opiniones vertidas por el autor son enteramente suyas y no siempre representan la opinión de GMV
The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of GMV

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