Too Little Information

As I’ve said many times before, trends tend to bend. Counter-forces and negative feedback loops tend to build up and send things off in a direction that’s opposite to the one most people expect. Case in point – too little information. Everyone, more or less, knows about Too Much Information (TMI), but much of this ‘information’ is shallow, trivial and meaningless. (See ‘Filter Failure’ – Sharkey 2009). But, more importantly, because people are starting to feel that nothing that’s digital is ever totally secure they’re starting to get very cautious and not to write things down. The result might well be that very important documentation is ceasing to exist. Think about political decisions taken during periods of crisis. Historically you’d have diaries, minutes of meetings and so on. But what if we don’t? What if the real issue isn’t Too Much Information (TMI) but Too Little Information (TLI)?

An idea proposed by the Canadian historian Professor Margaret MacMillan.

Listen here (around 20 minutes 40 seconds in).


Here are a few numbers you might not expect. In 1988, 62% of UK teens admitted to drinking alcohol and 18% said that they drank at least once a week. By 2010 these figures had fallen (yes, fallen) to 45% and 8%.

Source: NHS Information Centre?/Seven magazine 26.02.12