Managing information overload: In the age of AI, are we entering an intellectual obesity crisis?

March 18, 2024 | Blog, Wellbeing, Work Life

MumAbroad Founder Carrie Frais is an established Events Host and Moderator and recently worked at 4YFN, Barcelona’s leading communication and networking events for the start-up ecosystem, part of the Mobile World Congress. Here she assesses what awaits the next generation in the world of work and play, as we enter the age of AI.


Should we all be going on “the information diet”?

I have been thinking a lot about the future for our kids, having recently worked at the Mobile World Congress, one of Europe’s leading connectivity events for entrepreneurs and start-ups. There was an energy and dynamism that these innovative bright young minds brought with them, as they embark on a future many of us find difficult to envisage.  So, how do we manage information overload?

 

Tech is involved in almost every aspect of our lives and, spoiler alert, AI is at the very heart of it. It’s easy for those of us from an older generation to dismiss new technologies and bemoan the simplicity of the past, but we really have no choice. It is a reflection of the immense progress humans have made since the industrial revolution in Europe little more than 200 years ago. One of these entrepreneurs went as far as to declare data as ‘the new electricity’, recognising the sheer volume of information now available through the rapid advancement of AI technology and what seismic changes that might bring. 

 

managing AI information

‘Carrie in a ‘Qoob’, an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city’

 

On the one hand I feel we should embrace all this knowledge we now have at our fingertips and the ability that AI has to make our lives ever more comfortable. I was chatting to entrepreneurs involved in the Digital Health space and as far as our own health is concerned, thanks to the advance of wearables, virtual consultations and home monitoring kits, we will be empowered and more responsible for our wellbeing in a way that would have been unthinkable even just 10 years ago.  Who could know that a pocket sized kit could detect whether you needed a heart health checkup just from the sound of your voice? Or an app that can test your eyesight and relay the information back to your ophthalmologist without you having to move from the sofa? The concept of the ‘hospital at home’ thanks to the prevalence of the ‘Internet of Medical Things’, an holistic one-stop shop for ‘at home’ health monitoring, will soon be normalized.

 

On the other hand, the impact of the rapid advancement of technology  is only now beginning to be recognised – and some of it is not pretty. Some of you may be aware that MumAbroad is actively engaged in the 4Voices movement, a platform dedicated to fostering communication among teenagers. Its primary goal is to amplify the voices of the younger generation, enabling them to advocate for crucial issues of our time. The theme for this year’s event is ‘The Digital Jungle’ and our 12 finalists have a lot to say. Using terminology many of us may be unfamiliar with like ‘catfishing’, ‘zombification’ and ‘trauma dumping’, these youngsters need our support as they try to navigate a complex virtual world. (Take a look at the 4Voices LinkedIn page to see them).

 

So what is the answer to this overload? We can’t limit the amount of information out there but what we can do is be a lot more mindful about where and how we consume it. I’ll leave you with this thought-provoking quote from an article entitled The Intellectual Obesity Crisis by Gurwinder. 

 

“Ultimately you’ll have to determine the info-diet that works for you. But if you insist on endlessly consuming whatever the web serves you, know that this banquet culminates in a bitter dessert: at the end of your life, when you’re weighing your regrets, you probably won’t say “Man, I wish I’d spent more time browsing the web.”

On the contrary, you’ll have no recollection of that tweet by a stranger telling you they prefer pasta to pizza, or that gif that amused you for five seconds, or that Times piece that made you mad for a whole minute. And when you notice the myriad holes that all this junk has left in your memory, then it’ll finally be clear that you weren’t consuming it as much as it was consuming you”.

 

Enjoy your digital detox.

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