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Overload!: How Too Much Information is Hazardous to Your Organization by Jonathan B. Spira

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GREAT MOMENTS AND MILESTONES IN INFORMATION OVERLOAD HISTORY

Prior to the 1800s, the tools used by knowledge workers required much effort on the part of the user. Indeed, the earliest knowledge workers used stone, chisels, quills, and parchment to store information. To them, these tools were true innovations and dramatically increased their ability to create, share, and distribute knowledge.

Transmitting information over a distance in earlier days was also tricky. Sending a message might have involved beacon fires, flags, carrier pigeons, drums, mirrors, or even a man on a horse. Clearly, despite the occasional hard drive crash, today’s users have it relatively easy by comparison.

Our timeline navigates through many centuries of recording information and details the many innovations that allowed mankind to create, store, and distribute more information to more people. Of course, the easier it became to publish information, the more overloaded we became.

Today, innovation comes quickly and today’s state-of-the-art tools become yesterday’s news in a nanosecond. What will be available even a few years down the road is hard to fathom, and what we will be using 20 or 30 years hence is the stuff that science fiction is made of. I have no doubt that the individual who updates this timeline in 2084 will look back at today’s rather primitive tools and smile knowingly.

Year Development Why it was relevant
4000 BCE Clay tablet Allowed information to be recorded and stored for the ...

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