Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Information Obesity

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | August 08, 2010 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Bloggingheads, bloggingheads.tv, Lev Grossman, New York Times, Reihan Salam, The Daily Beast

This is a great video that I saw when I was reading my daily headline email yesterday from the New York Times, that posted a video (with no embed code!?) found on bloggingheads.tv

Of course I had to immediately tweet and FB it, and recommend it via my TimesPeople network, and blog it here, of course.

Anyway, the concept of information obesity is an analogy made in the video to the idea that our bodies evolved in a time of food scarcity, so we want to eat as much as we can whenever we can find it. Their idea is that we also evolved at a time of information scarcity, so we want to consume as much data as we can find, which is why some of us are constantly twittering, facebooking, phoning, blogging and foursquaring or whatever, even when walking down the street, driving, or chatting up romantic partners.

They don't pose any solution; in fact, they seem to like it.

So do I.

How does that go? Admitted we were powerless over data? That our lives were unmanageable?

Here's the long video (and here's a link to the short Times version)


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I don't generally tweet what I'm doing. I tweet random thoughts and articles I find that I think are of interest.

I barely use Facebook because I have too many relatives on there and it's suffocating. The biggest problem I see with social networking is that it never forgets. It doesn't let you evolve or reinvent yourself without all your history being attached to your identity...forever.

I mean, before Facebook and before everything was connected, the possibilities were endless. Now it seems limited. And my Mother stalks me online.

Fascinating. I'm much more connected than I should be, I think. Sometimes it gets overwhelming.

I just saw the original Star Trek movie this weekend. It's the least famous of the movies for reasons that become evident when you watch it, but it's about VGER, an extraterrestrial robot programmed to collect all information. Eventually Kirk and Spock and McCoy understand that VGER is trying to overcome the emptiness of such an existence and that destroying Earth is part of that plan.... Its chosen solution is to integrate with a human and learn how to stop caring about knowing everything and suspend disbelief.

Anyway, that's star trek, and I don't think that's our problem, as humans, as in we can't possibly stop being logical or act on less than perfect information. So go us.