People didn’t evolve in an information environment anything like the one we currently experience.

And the evidence suggests that things are rapidly moving beyond our control.

Thomas T Hills

image sources: Paleolithic, smart phone

Professor Thomas T Hills cautions that

The huge proliferation of information and communication is creating “attentional bottlenecks” which are acting to limit our choices to those based on fear, peer pressure, and global groupthink.

This problem is being made much worse by the fact that that information and the way it is communicated is itself evolving in ways that accentuate these dangers.

...  a paper entitled The Dark Side of Information Proliferation, looks at the information bottleneck we all face, and the “severe pitfalls” of the psychological processes behind the shortcuts and sifting methods we intuitively employ to try to deal with that increasing torrent of ever evolving information.

“Heightened sensitivity to negative information is part of our evolutionary heritage. This sensitivity leads us to weight disadvantages over advantages in information seeking and decision making.”

This leads to “social risk amplification”.

Mass proliferation of information evolving beyond our control, says...

My posting at Atheist Nexus about climate is an obvious shameful example.

image source

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Replies to This Discussion

“Heightened sensitivity to negative information is part of our evolutionary heritage. This sensitivity leads us to weight disadvantages over advantages in information seeking and decision making.”

This leads to “social risk amplification.”.

Ruth, I do not think your "posting at Atheist Nexus about climate is an obvious shameful example."

I often offered sincere thanks for your ability to find and share information pertinent to our times. You don't exaggerate the issues, you offer us an opportunity to read and decide if we want to attend to them. The reader has the responsibility for how he or she responds. There are those who do not want to know the challenges facing us and that is their right. I, for one, want to know what happens, why, what are the causes and remedies that might apply. Living in a state of denial and delusion may be satisfactory for some but not for me. 

The author writes, "The huge proliferation of information and communication is creating “attentional bottlenecks” which are acting to limit our choices to those based on fear, peer pressure, and global groupthink."

Yes, some choose to act based on fear, peer pressure, and global groupthink," or they could choose to be angry, sad, depressed, in denial, or delusional. Individuals have the responsibility to think and make decisions based on evidence. 

When Native Americans observed "white" men coming ashore with big guns and deadly bullets that outpowered their bows and arrows, they had choices to make, based on the evidence presented them. They could have been mad, glad, sad, afraid, ashamed, guilty, in denial, or delusional. What options did they have? Did prayer help them? Did faith? In the long view of things, what helped them? 

I am now involved with the Calispel Indians in an attempt to stop a silicon smelter to be built on our city border. The environmental impact on the Reservation will impact them as much as it will impact the community of Newport. The Calispels, also spelled Kalispels, know how to do community development. They understand the need for coalition building, how to do community civil disobedience in the name of sustainability. They can imagine a preferred future and develop ways to create the fulfillment of that image. 

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