Tag Archives: paradox of plenty

Managing Digital Information for Diplomats in the Era Paradox of Plenty

Technological advances have led to a dramatic reduction in the cost of processing and transmitting information. The result is an explosion of information, one that has produced a “paradox of plenty“. Plenty of information leads to scarcity -of attention. When people are overhelmed with the volume of information confronting them, they have difficulty discerning what to focus on. Attention rather than information becomes the scarce resource, and those who can distinguish valuable information from background clutter gain power. Editors and cue givers become more in demand, and this is a source of power for those who can tell us where to focus our attention” (Joseph S. Nye in “ Soft Power” as quoted by Christian Del Rosso in his article “The  Paradox of Plenty and the Scarcity of Attention).

We are now living in what some people call the digital age, meaning that internet have become an essential part of our lives. People are used to access the Internet, to do research and to communicate with others around the world. Using smartphones people make voice calls, send texts, email people and download logos, ringtones or games. With a built-in camera people can send pictures and make video calls in face-to-face mode. New smartphones combine a telephone with web access, videos, a games console, and MP3 player, a personal digital assistant (PDA) and a GPS navigation system, all in one.

With all these facts, It goes without saying that, in this digital age, we are inundated with an overwhelming amount of information, some of which is good, but much that is not. Google CEO Eric Schmidt was quoted as saying that every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003 – something on the order of five exabytes of data.