Information Addiction – The Ancient Legacy
Human beings seem to have been selected by nature to be particularly fond of Infobesity;
this is also the reason why we can’t get away from the Social Media news feeds …
We accumulate more and more information and data, just as we stack large quantities of stuff, often useless, to respond to an ancestral instinct we carry with us from the times we lived in the caves;
this is well known both by the web giants, starting with Social Media, and the E-Commerce sites, which try to leverage our primordial instincts to lead us to “consume” more and more information or push us to make compulsive purchases.
However, unlike material consumer goods, information has an additional attraction:
the illusion of increasing our knowledge and our control over the world around us, often chaotic and unpredictable.
By accumulating more information, we delude ourselves to acquire important knowledge for our own survival;
if it were not that the accumulation of information has a disastrous effect on attention, which is the essential element for acquiring authentic knowledge.
In fact, information feeds on itself: the drive to accumulate more and more is irrepressible, also because of the reward mechanisms embedded in our neurons, which are gratified for swallowing more and more information.
Our brain does not seem to have evolved to be satisfied: inside it incorporates those mechanisms of gratification that push us to feed ourselves indifferently of food as of information.
However, only with the selection of relevant information we are able to effectively increase our knowledge, and to select the relevant information effectively, we need to focus our attention.
Automated news feed algorithms are not helpful in selecting relevant information: on the contrary, they further fuel our natural dependence on the consumption of new information,
and for fear of losing something, we are willing to click on everything, without focusing on anything …