Coping with Information Overload – Dr. Allen Gorin (US Department of Defense)

November 23, 2004 all-day

Coping with information overload is a major challenge of the 21st century. In previous eras, access to information was difficult and often tightly controlled as a source of power. Today, we are overloaded with so much electronic information that it has become an obstacle to effective decision making. Thus, the challenge facing individuals and institutions is how to embrace this information rather than being paralyzed by it. The intelligence community is overloaded with huge volumes of information, moving at large velocities and comprising great variety. Information includes both content and context, which humans deal with as a gestalt but computer systems tend to treat separately. We discuss two complementary approaches to coping with information overload and the open research questions that arise in this emerging discipline. First is value estimation, where humans examine only the golden nuggets of information judged valuable by some process. The second approach is knowledge distillation, where the information is digested and compressed, producing salient knowledge for human consumption. Finally, there are many open questions regarding the symbiosis between people and machines for knowledge discovery.

Center for Language and Speech Processing