How to get ahead in an Information Economy

. 2 min read

Today, information is everywhere. In both career or personal life the internet has given us access to a wealth of knowledge and media. With this increase in data comes the challenge of what to do with it all.

The answer, it seems, requires creativity.

In our increasingly 'information based' economy, employees in high-earning careers are expected to bring together a multitude of concepts and develop them in innovative and creative ways. Psychologically speaking, we haven't even become close to understanding how new ideas are formed. Thus, the ability to recollect information without the aid of technology, as we have always done, remains incredibly important. However, with the increasing abundance and access to information, one might fall into the trap of assuming it is safe to rely on tapping into it, like some sort of external brain, as and when one feels the need. For example I personally recall as a student having the demotivating thought, "Why is it necessary to memorise this when I could look it up in an instant?" and at that level (passing exams) its a very valid question. However, when you are trying to push boundaries or, 'get ahead', this information must be digested and malleable within ones mind.

Incidentally, this gives us a bulwark against increasingly competent, 'job stealing', AI.

In my opinion, this should be of increasing concern given my criticisms of the modern university and education in general, which teach the value of recall through high-pressure exams over ideation and problem solving. On top of that, wrote memorisation does not include the essential skill of critical thinking. In the growing amount of - let's face it - biased and niche opinions one can be exposed to on the internet, it is increasingly important to have the skills to filter and question that information. And so we are left with a dilemma in which we are exposed to 'pre-filtered/good' information at school which we are taught to absorb unquestioningly whilst simultaneously being exposed to increasingly radical ideas on the internet.

So to my past self, I say, "It is not necessary to recall what you learn on demand, but do not mistake that for memorisation. The more concepts floating around in your head that you can cast a critical eye upon, the more likely it is you will make a connection that can really make a difference."

Did/Do you ask yourself the same question when it comes to exams? What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Graeme Russell

I created this blog as a way to reach people about topics I care about: ethics, self-improvement, and lifestyle. I hope you can find something of value here.