Flash of genius: The dark side of the information revolution
Author, "The Shallows"
The era of big data presents incredible opportunities -- smarter cities, stronger companies, faster medicine -- but just as many challenges. Storage is scarce, systems overloaded, governments and businesses know too much. The world now contains unimaginably vast amounts of digital information, which is growing exponentially. Managed well, this data can be used to engineer new engines of economic value, unlock scientific breakthroughs, and hold politicians accountable. Managed poorly, it can cause great harm.
The financial crisis showed that complex models that analyze large quantities of data do not always reflect financial risk in the real world. The financial crisis was sparked by big data -- and there will be others. But the data deluge will also generate millions of new ideas for how to solve big problems, build new markets, and expand existing ones. Ideas Economy: Information is a fresh look at knowledge management for the information age.
The Economist will bring together theorists, strategists, and innovators who understand how to harness data to create value and advance individual, corporate, and social good. We will sift through the vast quantities of current thinking on data to uncover the best ways forward. And we will apply the lessons of the Ideas Economy, about innovation, human capital, and intelligent infrastructure, to uncover new sources of growth and accelerate human progress across the globe.
Nicholas Carr writes about technology and culture. He is the author of the acclaimed new book The Glass Cage: Automation and Us (2014), which examines the personal and social consequences of our ever growing dependency on computers. His previous work, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains (2011), was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a New York Times bestseller. A former columnist for the Guardian, Carr writes the popular blog Rough Type and has written for The Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Wired, Nature, MIT Technology Review, and other periodicals. His essays, including “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and “The Great Forgetting,” have been collected in several anthologies. Previously, Carr was executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, as well as a member of the Encyclopedia Britannica’s editorial board of advisors and the steering board of the World Economic Forum’s cloud computing project.
Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, explains why the human brain struggles to process information that is presented "with the intensity and the quantity and the speed we find ourselves surrounded by today." Revising the 1956 psychology paper, "The Magical Number Seven," Carr explains that our working memory -- everything comprising the consciousness at a given moment -- can only hold between two and four items at a time.