In a blog post last week, I frustrated about the information overload that we all face. I am especially concerned how Social Media seems to be a major contributor to the flood of stuff. I am still not clear how to manage that, but I received a very helpful suggestion that frightened me.
Don Frederiksen hopes that automatic curation could solve our information overload. The idea is that a software system could examine what I read and respond to; then provide me with only that kind of content. Seems like a great plan. Figure out what I want to consume and give it to me. I never see anything that I don’t want to see. I never see anything that I disagree with…wait…there’s the rub.
I admit that I am suspicious that any system can figure me out. I am weird and complicated and wonderful. I have a bit of experience with Gmail trying to help. I installed a lab app that promised to flag important messages for me. That horrible experiment wasted a ton of time and seldom got anything right.
The disconcerting problem relates back to my title. Sometimes I really do like white bread and mayo but not every time. Some days I enjoy being confronted and challenged. I learn so much more from folks who disagree. They question me and cause me to examine my beliefs.
I don’t like feeling swamped by all the messages coming at me, but I like even less the idea of something deciding what I should see. Perhaps I underestimate the awesomeness of automatic curation.
What do you think? Is the loss seeing diverse ideas a risk? Is it worth it to pare the flood of data down to some reasonable rate?
Are we farther down this path than I suspect? Isn’t this really what Google’s PageRank & Facebook’s OpenGraph are doing already? And I thought Big Brother was going to be the government deciding everything for me.