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Some raw thoughts about human society's high and accelerating information metabolism.

With mobile phones (~1950-), databases (~1960-), personal computers and computer softwares (~1970-), emails (~1970-), the Web (~1990-), social networks such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, ... (~2000-), and the latest buzz concepts of computing cloud and big data, human society has undergone an exponential growth in its appetite for data and information, as well as its industrial power of producing, transforming, and distributing data and information. It's mind boggling to think about how the way human deals with data, this artificial raw material, is constantly shaping our current moment of history. If one thinks of human society as a complex physical system; the history is the time evolution of the system. Much of the important events happened in the history that history books happened to have a record for, and -- as a result -- get remembered by the recent generations, had been direct consequences of physical constraints on the system. Limitations tend to introduces complex mechanics and then makes features of the system; unboundedness tend to make a system flat and simple. A good portion of those constraints can be attributed to the physical limits on the volume and speed that human society could produce, transform, understand, and distribute information. Data, information, and knowledge are in order of increasing extent of extraction, abstraction, and purification, in terms of human perception and thinking. But in evolution of society, it is almost exactly the opposite order. Three hundred years ago, there might not be any good way -- and hence any interest -- in doing anything with data, as human were simply not armed with efficient tools to collect data. Good first-hand information about the real world were scarce and normally didn't spread far. Emperor of China then didn't have a good idea of the existence of Europe. And much imagination can be given to what modern history could be different if it was not the case. As electricity and electromagnetic waves were utilized for transforming and distributing information, telegraphs and telephones were inevitably invented, events happening at one place could be learned by people at a different place thousands of miles away shortly after. This means the information metabolism of human society has started accelerating. It's just like human with high metabolic rate have higher heart rate. And like appetite for food, when one eats fast, he is more likely to have need for more food. Since then, human society has observed an accelerating appetite and metabolism of data and information. In the present decade, it is no longer uncommon for an average person to find himself knowing about some trivia about some notable person on the other side of the planet. Information, good or bad, useful or not, is now like air, filling any empty space it can find, seemingly by its own force and law of nature. If the society is a biological creature, its appetite and metabolism for information has certainly grown larger and faster and is acceleratingly growing. Given the analogue to biological metabolism, my next question is: is high information metabolic rate good for us? Are humans designed to live like that? How do you live a healthy life style in terms of information metabolism measures?

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