Somehow today’s Dilbert seems worryingly close to the truth… how did anyone survive before the Internet? Are we all becoming information addicts? Let’s look at the positive and negative effects of this:
- Pros – Know lots about stuff, approximately 20% of it is useful, 80% completely inane. 24/7 instant access to more information than is comfortably conceivable.
- Cons – Every free waking moment is taken up cramming more of it leading to a restless hunger and thirst for more. The slow death of the physical library and the Dewey index.
Q) Is there such a thing as being too well-read? Discuss.
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For once we agree on something!!
I should have also mentioned newspapers along with libraries – both are on the death list or at least they will move fully online. Whilst people may be nostalgic for printed information I guess in a way it coincides nicely with the fact that we need to stop printing so much in combating climate change (no, I don't want to argue about that now!).
I see the internet as a never ending mine of information, taking the form of thousands of interconnected caves – you find something interesting in one cave, delve into it and enjoy the new knowledge, only to find it leads you off into new and exciting caves you never expected to be interested in or even knew existed.
I agree with Dilbert that it can be hard to pull away from all the news stories that flash up on my desktop from politics to technology to satirical cartoons. It's just too tempting not to click. To a certain extent newspapers must be losing ground. I tend to read newspaper articles online throughout the week, whereas 10 years ago I may have taken a Sunday newspaper. To answer the original question I don't think there is such a thing as being too well read; learning and the quest for knowledge is fundamental to the human experience.
Hey you don't get to chose when we argue :p. I don't think we'll see the end of printed material any time soon. It's so much more comfortable to read than present display technology. Let's see what electronic ink does for it though. On the environmental side young trees sequestrate carbon dioxide at a high rate, so if you grow a tree and turn it into paper you're taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and capturing it in the paper. I imagine this is good if you're worried about CO2 levels?
The Dewey Decimal System should never be usurped! Regardless of how much information is available on the internet it can never be the same as sitting and reading a book. That said I do spend an awful lot of time on the internet…
I think the downside of information being available to excess on the internet is that it provides too much of a black hole that it's rather easy for people to fall into. If people get sucked in to the extent that their normal (non-internet) lives are affected then we have a problem.
Do we knoe how much CO2 is generated in the production of paper itself? (just out of interest)
But what happens when your book becomes a computer? E-book readers have come a long way these days with some amazing screen technology which looks just like paper. Its surely got to be better than chopping down trees to make paper although I agree from a nostalgia perspective not quite the same!