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TECH TALK: Harnessing Information: Harnessing Information

October 22nd, 2001 · No Comments

Yesterday, I double-scheduled myself. I forgot I had a meeting on Wednesday morning, and agreed to meet someone else at the same time somewhere else. Tomorrow, I will have to re-schedule one of them. I guess a Palm or an equivalent electronic organiser would have saved me this embarrassment, but as we will see later, there is much more to information than just putting it into a Digital Diary.

We are all social animals. We have a wide network of people we know. And as we meet and interact them, a lot of information is exchanged. Information which can help deepen a relationship but which we are ill-equipped to handle. Like birthdays, anniversaries, names of spouses and children, likes and dislikes. We hear, but we don’t absorb and store for timely future recollection. Wouldn’t it be nice that the next time we meet someone at the mall or the airport, instead of asking, “So, how is your daughter doing?” we could say, “So, Meera must now be 10 months old. She must be growing up real fast?”

Medical representatives visit doctors and chemists daily and then fill up detailed reports and then send them by post to their respective head offices.

Is there a better solution which not only transmits personal instantaneously and electronically, but also can alert decision makers on exceptional rise in sales of a particular drug so more quantities can be rushed to those specific areas?

Today, thanks to the Internet, Google and the great publishing revolution of the past 5 years wherein everyone has put everything of even the minutest interest on the Web, one has to access to more information than ever before. Newspapers, webloggers and diarists worldwide put out new information in massive quantities daily. Yet, to find what it is that we need, it is becoming increasingly harder.

Information naturally resides in silos. In memories, in notebooks, in writing pads, in diaries, in computer files, in email folders, in the RAM of cellphones. Information, like dust particles, naturally scatters. And just like it is impossible to aggregate the dust particles again, so too it is with information. We may be in the Information Economy, but it is still the Dark Ages. In both our personal and corporate lives, the amount of information around us has increased exponentially. What can be done to manage and harness information better?

Tags: Tech Talk

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