An excerpt from a timely human information processing reality check (via All Things Digital)
The problem has been creeping up on us for a long time. In the 17th century Leibniz bemoaned the “horrible mass of books which keeps on growing,” and in 1729 Alexander Pope warned of “a deluge of authors cover[ing] the land,” as James Gleick describes in his new book, The Information. But the consequences were thought to be emotional and psychological, chiefly anxiety about being unable to absorb even a small fraction of what’s out there. Indeed, the Oxford English Dictionary added “information fatigue” in 2009. But as information finds more ways to reach us, more often, more insistently than ever before, another consequence is becoming alarmingly clear: trying to drink from a firehose of information has harmful cognitive effects. And nowhere are those effects clearer, and more worrying, than in our ability to make smart, creative, successful decisions.