Information as food

Here is a simple analogy about information viewed as food from JP Rangaswami as presented at TED@SXSWi April 2012. If information was food would we consume it differently?

“So I looked at the cultivation of information as if it were food and said, and said So we were hunter-gathers of information. We moved from that to becoming farmers and cultivators of information. Does that really explain what we’re seeing with the intellectual property battles nowadays? Because those people who were hunter-gatherers in origin wanted to be free and roam and pick up information as they wanted, and those that were in the business of farming information wanted to build fences around it, create ownership and wealth and structure and settlement.

And as it ran, this thing was saying, “Give me input. Give me input.”

With a background in economics and journalism, JP Rangaswami has been a technology innovator and chief information officer for many leading financial firms. As an advocate for open source and disruptive technologies, Rangaswami has been a leading force in the success of multiple startups, including School of Everything, and Ribbit. He blogs (unmissably) at Confused of Calcutta.

Clay Shirky once stated that there is no such animal as information overload, there is only filter failure. Information, if viewed from the point of view of food, is never a production issue. … It’s a consumption issue, and we have to start thinking about how we create diets [and] exercise.” (JP Rangaswami)