Thursday, April 5, 2018

"How to read less news but be more informed, according to a futurist"

Our old pal, the DIKW pyramid comes into play here.

From Quartz, March 6:
You might think someone who gets paid to predict the future would be mad for gadgets and forever spouting off on social media. But you’d be wrong. Writer and futurist Richard Watson may teach London business students and Silicon Valley tech companies how to think about crafting tools for tomorrow, but he’s not even on Twitter.

What’s more, Watson doesn’t really follow the news in any conventional way. He reads Sunday newspapers, in print, retrospectively. He’s not trying to catch up but to check and see which of the many headlines turned out to be relevant a few weeks or a month later. In other words, Watson is neutral about current events. He’s placing any given moment in a much greater context than the day or the week. Watson’s scale is grand and includes all of human history and its possible futures. In this very long view, nothing is such a big deal, although anything may become relevant eventually.
Instead of focusing on what everyone is already talking about, Watson hunts down unusual knowledge. He shared with Quartz his approach to creating a smart information filter—a net that captures what’s happening and what really matters without making you a slave to information of fleeting importance.

1. “Practice selective ignorance”
You can’t read or think about everything, so keep that in mind when choosing materials and pick quality over quantity, and try to create a wide context. In other words, triangulate between breadth and depth. The more information is available, the less we tend to digest, and people are increasingly tuning out even while they consume, so it makes sense to consume less and better data.

2. “Burst the bubble”
Watson advises that we randomly pick up books and magazines, and strike up conversations with strangers. These random acts of interest in strangers and unusual communications break your information consumption routines and expose you to unique insights.

3. Find the “tall poppies”
The futurist advises that each of us cultivate a network of curious and remarkable people who are hungry for interesting information and can guide our thinking. Such remarkable characters are called “tall poppies” in some companies, and Watson believes collecting these human blooms drives success....

I know some curious people but we might have a definitional problem here.
On the other hand we keep track of predictions in all manner of things in an attempt to identify the folks who might have some measure of what computer modelers call skill which just possibly might be exploitable in markets.
—spellcheck has a problem with definitional but here's the OED: Definition of definitional

Somehow related:
"Crowds aren’t as smart as we thought, since some people know more than others. A simple trick can find the ones you want"

"How to Speed Read the Internet"
1. Low latency machine-readable data feeds.
2. Employees
3. Today's link

From Inverse:...
That was the counsel of one of my mentors, many years ago. I've mentioned it a couple times.*
In one of her recent posts on her personal blog the FT's Izabella Kaminska commented en passant on keeping up with the flow of information. It can seem overwhelming at times but it's pretty much the essence of the Information Age.

The thing to do is avoid wasting the time you have and that means employing a range of hacks: From paying people to pre-screen what you focus on to constantly asking yourself if the task at hand is the highest value use of your time. It's not easy and it does take some effort because the tendency of the universe is towards entropy and people are lazy but it does not kill one to absorb large amounts of information and convert the info into knowledge and hopefully wisdom.

From Dizzynomics...
Does Your Career Entail Reading A Large Volume Of Not Very Interesting Material? Here's a Simple Hack To Speed The Job Along
So You've Rewired Your Brain To The Point You Can't Read A Book. Idiot
Probably related:
Thanks, I think, to a reader.
"I would be willing to wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions. We would be surprised by our time-visitor’s memory, broad range of ideas and clear-sighted view of important issues. I would also guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues."...
The Case for Less: Is Abundance Really the Solution to Our Problems?
The two examples of the problem with abundance that the author uses are each in their own way incorrect.
On obesity the problem is not just the availability of cheap high calorie food, it is that what passes for food really isn't. The manufactured/processed stuff that lines the grocery aisles is about as close to food as masturbation is to sex.

The second example, information overload, is just silly. There may be a firehose of of data coming at you but being overloaded by it is a choice and a failure to move up the DIKW pyramid.

A few years ago Barry Ritholtz had a simple, straightforward post on the topic: "Intelligence Hierarchy: Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom".

Here's another way to look at it:

Getting stuck at the base of the pyramid or off on the left side of the flow chart is your own damn fault....