OD’ing on Info Overload

“… And knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4).

IT IS WITH GOOD CAUSE that the term “information overload” was coined in recent years. Knowledge has increased within our generation almost beyond imagination! Here are just a few mind-boggling facts on this:
ä  80% of all the scientists who have ever lived are alive right now.
ä  Every minute they add 2,000 pages to man’s scientific knowledge. The material they produce every 24 hours would take one person five years to read.
ä Every day, the equivalent of over 300 million pages of text is sent over the Internet.
ä  According to Dr. Malcolm Todd, one-time president of the American Medical Association, about half of all medical knowledge is outdated every ten years.
ä  It is estimated that over 15,000 scientific journals are being published annually, and that throughout the world well over 1,000 new books are published every day.
ä  In 1970, when the Apollo 13 spacecraft was lost in space, it took NASA computers 90 minutes to work out a way to bring it back. A scientist working with a pencil and paper would have taken over a million years to figure out how to accomplish the same feat.
ä  The most basic building block of computer technology, the transistor, was invented at Bell Labs in 1948. In 1994 a computer chip could hold 3.1 million transistors, more than twice as many as the previous year’s model. In 1996, new technology allowed up to 125 million transistors, each less than 1/600 the diameter of a human hair, to be manufactured on a single chip. A chip that contains more than a billion transistors will be available by the year 2000.

Commenting on recent advances in computer technology, Professor Peter Cochrane of the British Telecom Laboratories’ Advanced Application Division said, “There are now wrist watches that wield more computing ability than some 1970s mainframes. Ordinary cars today have more ‘intelligence’ than the original lunar lander.”
Studies have concluded that human knowledge is currently doubling approximately every eight years. According to author H.L. Willmington, “By the time a child born today graduates from college, the knowledge in the world will be four times as great. By the time that child is fifty years old, it will be thirty-two times as great, and 97 percent of everything known in the world will have been learned since the time he was born.”

Although we have made tremendous strides scientifically and technologically, are we more fulfilled or happier than our predecessors? Our knowledge has radically increased, but much of our scientific genius has been squandered in the development of armaments and weapons of mass destruction. Hi-tech gadgets and luxuries are given priority while many of our fellow humans are hungry and destitute.
Time magazine got it right in their 1995 cover story “The Evolution of Despair:”
VCRs and microwave ovens have their virtues, but in the everyday course of our highly efficient lives, there are times when something seems deeply amiss. … Whatever the source of stress, we at times get the feeling that modern life isn’t what we were designed for.
Rates of depression have been doubling in some industrial countries roughly every 10 years. Suicide is the third most common cause of death among young adults in North America, after car wrecks and homicides. Fifteen percent of Americans have had a clinical anxiety disorder.

What good is a head full of knowledge if our hearts are empty and we lack peace of mind and purpose in life?



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