Can the iPad Solve Information Overload?

“Information is not knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

A great post on Openculture discusses the rampant growth of information in the modern world:

” this new informational age is cursed with a new problem: 50 million hits. It has become virtually impossible for a person to assess the quality, relevance, and usefulness of more information than she can process in a lifetime. And this is a problem that will only get worse as information continues to proliferate.”

The author goes on to describe how technologies have emerged to address this issue, such as social networking and location aware applications.

He argues that one company is very aware of the ’50 million hits’ problem: Apple. And the iPad, more than any other device so far, can potentially address it with its enhanced levels of accessibility.

“The collapsing of symbolic complexity into the simplicity of touch enables participation by new groups of people — even relative technophobes — and this mirrors the increased accessibility offered by Gutenberg’s revolution while lowering the barrier characteristic of most recent technologies.”

The ability  for the least technically adept person to literally hold the information in their hands can help solve the information overload. It changes the relationship between information and humans. Gutenberg’s revolution, the author reminds us, changed our relationship to information and ushered in the second information age. The iPad, he argues, may be the catalyst for the third. This may seem like a strong statement, but no one saw the ipod or the iphone coming. Will Apple’s new device change everything? I don’t know, but I do know that I would love to pre-order one.

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