Information Explosion

as we may think

The information explosion is the rapid increase in the amount of published information or data and the effects of this abundance. As the amount of available data grows, the problem of managing the information becomes more difficult, which can lead to information overload. The earliest use of the phrase seems to have been in an IBM advertising supplement to the ‘New York Times’ published on April 30, 1961, and by Frank Fremont-Smith, Director of the American Institute of Biological Sciences Interdisciplinary Conference Program. Techniques to gather knowledge from an overabundance of electronic information (e.g., data fusion may help in data mining) have existed since the 1970s.

Since ‘information’ in electronic media is often used synonymously with ‘data,’ the term ‘information explosion’ is closely related to the concept of ‘data flood’ (also dubbed ‘data deluge’), the ever-increasing amount of electronic data exchanged per time unit. The awareness about non-manageable amounts of data grew along with the advent of ever more powerful data processing since the mid-1960s. By August 2005, there were over 70 million web servers. Two years later there were over 135 million web servers. According to ‘Technorati,’ the number of blogs doubles about every 6 months with a total of 35.3 million blogs as of April 2006. This is an example of the early stages of logistic growth, where growth is approximately exponential, since blogs are a recent innovation. As the number of blogs approaches the number of possible producers (humans), saturation occurs, growth declines, and the number of blogs eventually stabilizes.

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