It's nearly ten years since a study sponsored by Reuters, Glued to the Screen: An investigation into information addiction worldwide, identified information addiction. The topic keeps cropping up in informal discussions with friends, colleagues, associates. And it's relevant, very relevant to how we see the net evolving.
Discovery, finding out, is an evolutionary necessity for humans; it is so necessary it verges on an addiction, a story that hit the headlines in the summer of this year.
"Dr. Hallowell and John Ratey, an associate professor at Harvard and a psychiatrist with an expertise in attention deficit disorder, are among a growing number of physicians and sociologists who are assessing how technology affects attention span, creativity and focus." They compare information consumption as practiced by the multitasking wired individual with the dopamine release from narcotics. "It takes the same pathway as our drugs of abuse and pleasure."
We also habitually create new cultures, according to evolutionary biologist Professor Mark Pegal. It's what distinguishes us. And it's what is happening now.
Talking with a teacher at a leading technology institute today, I learned that the very process of encouraging young people to take a point of view, to reach beyond the Google search box and form a perspective on life that can be expressed in an artistic way, is the most problematic part of engaging with a part of that age group.
As we create more content, the question is has our compulsive approach to information overtaken our ability to analyse it? It's a question that people are asking without saying very much.
First, the channels of communication that are opening up to us need far more content than we've yet to put in play. Overwhelmed by information, we're compelled to create more. More of those YouTube scratch videos, scratch podcasts, weird takes on our moral disorientation, and of course sport, extreme, and edgy, will be needed. Your Internet Procotol TV needs you.
And more time spent working out how to use technology communally, building our networks and associations, building out creative applications in the way we now see happening from Silicon Vally to Bangalore — what's to stop anyone in the global neighbourhood extend that blogging skill into a new publishing application like travel guides, how-to guides, experiential tracts, spiritual diversions, musings and mentions. It's easy to envisage in five years time a world where all kinds of hybrid publishing products slither onto the screen.