There's a compelling reason to master information and news. Clearly there will be better job and financial opportunities. Other high stakes will be missed by people if they don't master and connect information.
Among all the world's races, some obscure Bedouin tribes possibly apart, Americans are the most prone to misinformation. This is not the consequence of any special preference for mendacity, although at the higher levels of their public administration that tendency is impressive. It is rather that so much of what they themselves believe is wrong.
Not having the information you need when you need it leaves you wanting. Not knowing where to look for that information leaves you powerless. In a society where information is king, none of us can afford that.
Knowledge in the form of an informational commodity indispensable to productive power is already, and will continue to be, a major --perhaps the major --stake in the worldwide competition for power. It is conceivable that the nation-states will one day fight for control of information, just as they battled in the past for control over territory, and afterwards for control over access to and exploitation of raw materials and cheap labor.
Even though these technological advances originally sought to control information and bring order to the office, in many instances they have done just the opposite. The electronic office promised to reduce paper work and lessen work loads, but it has, in fact, generated more information that must sill be printed and -even more challenging-be assimilated. Since computers entered office systems, paper utilization has increased six-fold.
The original root of the word information is the Latin word informare, which means to fashion, shape, or create, to give form to. Information is an idea that has been given a form, such as the spoken or written word. It is a means of representing an image or thought so that it can be communicated from one mind to another rather than worrying about all the information afloat in the world, we must ask ourselves what matters to us, what do we want to know. It's having ideas and learning to deal with issues that is important, not accumulating lots and lots of data.
What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.
If you were designing the sort of information-processing system a brain is, it would be extremely impractical to store memories permanently in their original form. You need mechanisms for transforming and recording them; for chunking information into categories . Is your memory a phonograph record on which the information is stored in localized grooves to be replayed on demand? Is so, it's a very bizarre record, for the songs are different every time they're played. Human memory is more like the village storyteller; it doesn't passively store facts but weaves them into a good (coherent, plausible) story, which is recreated with each telling.
The idea that information can be stored in a changing world without an overwhelming depreciation of its value is false. It is scarcely less false than the more plausible claim that after a war we may take our existing weapons, fill their barrels with information.