Oceans of Information

This is the final excerpt from our 2015 How to be Right for the Times report.

The digital society is not a simple linear onwards and upwards society. The effects of these technologies are diverse and contradictory. The graphic below reflects the diverse findings of our 2015 qualitative research as to the effects the adoption of smartphones and other new technology has on people’s lives. It shows that, even as we begin to personally feel more powerful and self-sufficient, our access to information is becoming more and more fragmented — that’s the ‘long tail’ too.

RFTT 2015 July.019

And that sense of power we experience may be accompanied by an almost infantile desire to have what we want, now, without question. As our expectations of immediate high quality goods and services grow we become less able to delay gratification or deal with anything that contradicts our desires.

That impulse to focus on what we want extends to the way we deal with the ocean of information itself — we become adept at blocking out what we do not wish to hear. Filtering our news through social media means we pay attention to what our friends pay attention to — not what outsiders may wish to tell us.

At worst and kind of also at best we become powerful demanding diverse and insulated little tribes. Silicon Valley itself is the ultimate example.

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Jill Caldwell

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