How Too Much Information Is Changing the Way We Think and Know
Routledge – 2013 – 216 pages
Routledge – 2013 – 216 pages
Today, more mediated information is available to more people than at any other time in human history. New and revitalized sense-making strategies multiply in response to the challenges of "cutting through the clutter" of competing narratives and taming the avalanche of information. Data miners, "sentiment analysts," and decision markets offer to help bodies of data "speak for themselves"—making sense of their own patterns so we don’t have to. Neuromarketers and body language experts promise to peer behind people’s words to see what their brains are really thinking and feeling. New forms of information processing promise to displace the need for expertise and even comprehension—at least for those with access to the data.
Infoglut explores the connections between these wide-ranging sense-making strategies for an era of information overload and "big data," and the new forms of control they enable. Andrejevic critiques the popular embrace of deconstructive debunkery, calling into question the post-truth, post-narrative, and post-comprehension politics it underwrites, and tracing a way beyond them.
"Mark Andrejevic's compelling new book is an impressive survey of the impact of big data on domains extending from bodies and brains to policing, marketing, and sentiment analysis. As it documents the shift from comprehension to correlation, Infoglut raises disturbing questions regarding new operations of power and control in a world of algorithms." —Jodi Dean, author of Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies
"Andrejevic advances a common claim that people have more information than they can process. His new work examines the meaning of living in a world of information overflow, and shows how it changes people's thought and behavioral processes. The book is particularly relevant as people become increasingly aware of how much information about themselves is accessible by the government, corporations, and other entities, especially with the controversy involving the National Security Agency. Andrejevic argues that people prioritize correlation over comprehension - "what" and facts are more important than "why" and reasons. People distrust authorities. They rely on fact checkers as if a singular objective fact exists. They simulate wars, crimes, and even emotions, generating metaphysical questions about what it means to feel, experience, and live. They can scan brains to predict what cultural phenomenon will be popular in the future. Infoglut is a critique of contemporary society driven by information. Andrejevic's language is accessible, but good familiarity with various cultural theories is necessary to understand the book's theoretical frameworks. Summing Up: Recommended." —CHOICE
1. Introduction: Infoglut and Clutter-Cutting 2. Intelligence Glut: Policing, Security, and Predictive Analytics 3. Emotional Glut: Opinion Mining and Sentiment Analysis 4. Future Glut: Marketocracy 5. Glut Instinct: Body Language and Visceral Literacy 6. Neuro-Glut: Marketing to the Brain 7. Theory Glut: From Critique to Conspiracy 8. Cutting Through the Glut: Knowledge Small Enough to Know
Mark Andrejevic is an ARC QE II Research Fellow at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland. He is the author of iSpy: Surveillance and Power in the Interactive Era and Reality TV: The Work of Being Watched, as well as numerous articles and book chapters on surveillance, digital media, and popular culture.