For some time now many pundits and authorities have been suggesting that knowledge is no longer king, that information as a construct is ephemeral. This is not to deny that at any point in time, including at the present, there are not important and vital shared understandings and generalisations which make up the core of knowledge at that time. The problem is that these generalisations and understandings are more than ever under consistent challenge for a whole lot of reasons including the ease with which they can be shared and commented on. A more insidious problem is that included in these challenges, commentary and the simple process of sharing, the original intent of the knowledge is cheapened by the need to shorten, re-interpret, re-commodify. This great post from Peter Pappas looks at the implications of this in suggesting that we should forget about remembering.
The cost of information is rapidly approaching zero. Normally as price of a commodity drops, we consume more of it. But unlike all the other cheap stuff we buy, and then later discard, cheap information demands our attention. Despite all the claims of multi-tasking, we are stuck with a finite attention span. Thus the ability to selectively filter out unwanted information and stay focussed on a task is emerging as a new literacy.
To illustrate the dilemma we face related to information, Peter also embeds the following video from the 21st Century Fluency Project.