Running a web site that pumps out almost 20 posts a day about how to be more productive, we’re already aware of the irony of technology that tries to fix the problems that technology presents. The New York Times gets hip to the Catch-22 in an article today on the firms and software applications out to stem the tide of information overload that this field has created:
“There’s a competitive advantage of figuring out how to address this problem,” [IBM researcher John]Tang said. He said that there was “a certain amount of irony” in the fact that the solutions are coming from the very companies that built the digital systems in the first place.
The introspection in Silicon Valley comes with defensiveness, judging from conversations with those involved. Digital communications are sacrosanct, the tools of the revolution, so the criticisms of them are merely a path to thinking about how they can be done better. And, of course, the solution to the technology problem is simply more and better technology.
Is that true? Or are we all crazy, and the true solution is less technology? Let us know what you think in the comments. Update: 43 Folders’ Merlin Mann weighs in with his usual clear-headed analysis of email overload in regards to this article.