The Information Age is Worthless

by Byron on June 14, 2011

I think I might no longer be convinced that information is worth anything. I mean, by and large, information is worth nothing.

Of course this isn’t completely true. If you knew where the next earthquake was going to hit, that would be very valuable information. You would save quite a few lives and probably even save a little bit of property for good measure.

And it would be quite valuable to know what the physical symptoms of a patient meant. For then, it might even save a life.

But what is so different? What is unique about this? What the hell is the the information age anyway? How did it become an age? Aren’t we merely trying to do what we’ve always been trying to do? Like stay healthy, form relationships, have enough to eat, have comfortable shelter, reproduce, feel good.

Of course that’s all we’re doing. All the “information age” means is that we’re drinking from a firehose. The answers are coming much faster than they ever have before.

If you think information, in and of itself, is worth anything, I would argue you are wrong. Just ask google. Google has more information than anyone. But what good is it? Google only makes money when someone takes an action. And the action is related to the health, or the eating, or the relationships, or one of the other basic building blocks of humanity. Why then, is google my favorite company, favorite investment, the first trillion dollar market cap, the investment that makes all others pale in comparison? Because of one simple word…TIME.

You get healthy quicker, get full faster, bond sooner, be known more immediately. Humans have the ability to have the basic needs met. Oh sure, that one is poor and hungry and that one is mentally unstable. That one can’t make relationships. And the rich man too narcissistic to love properly. I’m not saying humans do it, I’m saying humans have the ability to have all basic needs met. (some training required). But they don’t have the ability to do it now. Things that before took a lifetime can now happen in a blink.

How much revenue is there in instant gratification or the right relationship? And what happens when google realizes that their next great revenue model comes from making connections that only google knows need connecting. It would probably be worth twenty cents on the dollar. And it wouldn’t even wreck my supposition. Information, itself, is worthless. Information applied can be priceless.

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