An Abundance Of Information and Opportunity

We have, today, available at our fingertips a wealth of knowledge that was unthinkable just a few decades ago. While it’s not exactly as he originally envisioned it, Bill Gates’ “Information At Your Fingertips” has come to pass in ways that most of us would never have considered 20 years ago.

And yet we take it all for granted.¬†Bill Murray captured it correctly just a few years ago: “My iPhone has 2 million times the storage of the 1969 Apollo 11 spacecraft computer. They went to the moon. I throw birds at pig houses.”

There’s more to it than just the amount of information we can access. All that information at my fingertips is growing by leaps and bounds, also in ways we’d never envisioned.

For better or worse, everyone so inclined has a voice. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection has a soapbox on which they can stand to proclaim whatever it is they feel worth proclaiming.

Anyone online has an opportunity to speak out. Anyone online has the opportunity to create content. Anyone online has the opportunity to add value to the world in ways previously unthinkable.

One might say everyone online also has a responsibility to do so with integrity. While that responsibility might be the ideal case, living up to it is clearly not always the reality. Misinformation has become one of the unintended side-effects, an unforeseen consequence of the ease with which anyone can say anything they want online.

Regardless, I find myself grateful this morning for the immense amounts of truly valuable information that we are presented with, and the rise of amazing voices and sources of inspiration, education, and hope. I encounter new and thought-provoking sources almost every day.

As information consumers we have a duty to separate the wheat from the chaff, the truth from fiction, the value from the nonsense, but there is so much value out there it’s truly worth the effort.