More information less attention

What is behavioral? A blog of recent updates to behavioral economics

Economics of Information Overload: Thoughts from Herb Simon

I tend to think of information overload as a 21st century problem, but serious folks were talking about it almost 50 years ago. In an essay published in 1971, Herbert A, Simon (who would win the Nobel prize in economics in 1978) offered the insight that “a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” Simon’s 1971 essay on “Designing Organizations for an Information-Rich World” appears in a volume edited by Martin Greenberger called Computers, Communications, and the Public Interest Johns Hopkin Press, 1971, pp. 37-52). Here’s the context for Simon’s remark, and a few other thoughts from his essay and his comments in the panel conversation that followed that caught my eye ….[READ]

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