During my student years, when the weather was thirsty and the girls were pretty, we used to argue: the more you study, the more you know; the more you know, the more you forget; the more you forget, the less you know…so let’s take a beer instead of our study books.
Sound reasoning indeed; visionary I’d even say in retrospect. Especially if applied to the current information society, in which more transparency, smart solutions and big data have created an information tsunami (I deliberately use this dramatic word to attract your attention in a…well…information overloaded environment). We’ve gradually learned that more isn’t always better. Next to a potential for more informed decision making, more information also increases the amount of noise: useless or even distracting information.
But have you ever thought of the fact that it will also increase the amount of information you rather wouldn’t want to know? To illustrate, here are some random examples:
- There’s a 40 percent chance that the new colleague you warmly shook hands with, left the toilet without washing hands properly after a noisy ten minutes stay.
- The chief pilot of your yesterday’s transatlantic flight from the US, was struck by a cardiac arrest just before landing.
- The deep raspberry flavour of your favourite chewing gum brand comes from adding castoreum, the anal juice of a beaver.
- Your brand new t-shirt, which will give your popularity a tremendous boost, was made by a child, earning less than a dollar for a 12 hours working day.
- Your brand new t-shirt, which will give your popularity a tremendous boost, may contain skin scales and body fluids of another -less fashionable- person.
- Your favourite actor appears to be a child molester.
- In terms of germs, typing the keyboard of a public computer resembles to rubbing the seat of a public toilet with your bare hands.
- New insights reveal that the research instrument you’ve intensively used for your soon-to-be-defended-PhD thesis contains fatal flaws.
Have a happy-go-lucky day!
Thomas Thijssens, recently lecturer/researcher at the Open University