I have been listening to a track quite a lot lately called Sonho Dourado, the version played by Daniel Lanois. It is a beautiful sprawling track of just Lanois playing the guitar. It puts me in a wonderful, late summer, sunset at dusk in the Midwest state of mind and I loop it all day long. I highly recommend you grab it here from the link below, put it on your iPod, and just drift away. Also highly recommended for long waits at very foreign airports, homeward journeys, or small triumphs (making it through a trying work week).
I actually tried to look for some more information on what it refers to and that led me to some clever things Google is doing with their search results. Try searching for a phrase + history and it gives you a timeline. Maybe I am just coming late to the party on this one and they have been doing this for awhile, but I think it is a clever and innocuous to break up a textual field and try to curate some of this information a bit.
Granted, it is not the most highly complex use case in the world, but what is? As we just learned the other day from Google’s own Eric Schmidt:
“Between the birth of the world and 2003, there were five exabytes of information created. We [now] create five exabytes every two days. See why it’s so painful to operate in information markets?”
His comments are aimed at the larger drivers, the organizations that rely on and cannot respond to this information. But what of the average person wading through it? Generating mounds and mounds of data simply by being curious, simply through an information gap fill, or just attending to life and survival. What of all the information that floods them (and that is the statistic I want and am struggling to get: how much data does the average person consume, ingest, or ignore daily as compared to five/ten/twenty years ago?), all that they respond to? How do they make sense of it all? How do they construct a schematic for their world?
It is all a little like religion (and if you are waiting for more discussion on the Lanois track, I suspect that ship has sailed). Constructing a structure to the symbols, a schema for some loose markings in the sand. So, if I can collect enough information to prove that A leads to B, that this person will do this when confronted with the right stimulus (barring the normal tendency of humans not to act in their own best interests, or even chaotically), when does the playing field level? What will be the next pasture we all congregate on, pushing higher and higher towards truth and wisdom?
I don’t really know, but transcribing data to symbols (timelines) takes us all there a little faster. Small steps, larger schematic enterprises for ideas, greater capacity for learning. There is real learning value in simply filtering, discerning, constructing, and presenting information in meaningful ways. It is just making sense of your world.