June 2003
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The Information Flood has nothing to do with Noah
By Stephen T., Grade 12, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

"One of the effects of living with electric information is that we live habitually in a state of information overload. There is always more than you can cope with."

Canadian communications expert Marshall McLuhan observed that in our technologically advanced society of rapidly relayed stories and facts, we are bound to become overwhelmed with information. The constant changes in politics, economics, science and entertainment circulate throughout the world just as swiftly as they occur, and thus we are forever digesting newsbytes. When you finally comprehend a concept or form an opinion on a significant issue, new ideas and happenings are revealed and you are forced to contemplate all over again. Media such as television, radio and internet have endless access to information to feed to the viewers, and because of the diversity of this information, it is difficult to be fully aware of current developments. Technology allows for access to electric information across the globe, resulting in massive amounts of discussion and analysis we can't possibly use entirely. I interpret McLuhan's words as pointing out the inability of world citizens to absorb the array of information that technology makes available; we are electronically capable of providing viewers with comprehensive coverage of events and subjects, but viewers simply can't utilize or even attempt to understand all that is provided.

I believe that McLuhan's quote holds very true when applied to the current state of the world. Extensive knowledge and history is readily available on the World Wide Web, and the many, varied views and theories that we discover easily clutter our minds and prevent us from gaining a strong understanding of the information. With the stockpiles of facts from a wide range of countries, it also becomes debatable as to what should be taught through the educational system. News stories constantly emerge, often with the latest ones overlapping the previous before people have sufficient time to completely familiarize themselves with them. This overload of news will commonly lead to frustration and disinterest in the viewers, and consequently we may have a less informed society.

Through electronics, people create floods of information of which no person can gain a complete understanding. The more developments that are made and the more electronically sophisticated we become, the more taxing it will become to try to be truly knowledgeable.


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