Like most crossroads, the intersection of information, technology and communication is tricky to navigate. The rules are unclear. The boundaries expand in every direction. Information, technology and communication progress independently but with an unarticulated reliance on the other. One dimension without the other doesn’t really make sense.

With everything happening at once, conflicts arise. In the physical world two objects really can’t be at the same place at once, but with information that is not true (except if multiple people are working on the same file at the same location at the same time).

The best tool for navigating through this mess is trust. There are so many tradeoffs at different points when information is passing through. When fast moving cars carrying passengers (packets), most with different destinations in mind converge into a single area most of the time they make it through on their own. There are rules to help make this happen. Most people know most of the rules, but few people know all of the rules at any given moment. Moreover, there are different ways to manage intersections. Some intersections emphasize safety others emphasize speed. There is the four way stop, two way stop, the four way traffic light, and everybody’s favorite, the traffic circle.

Getting Stuck

Of course, information is more complicated than traffic. Information comes from more than four directions, it moves at different speeds, it never stops and is often invisible. Managing this type of traffic takes different skills. It is infinite, yet also capacity constrained. Bandwidth and storage are not exactly infinite. There few theoretical limits, but the reality is different. Everyone runs into slow Internet or lack of storage space at some time. So information jams, like traffic jams do happen, but they are largely invisible. The change can be on your local device or out on the network, but they are out there.

But information jam or not, humans all use information no matter how it gets to us or how much of it we have to make decisions. On one hand, information is self organizing and Darwinistic. Those who make the decisions with the information that they have at their disposal are the ones that survive. But on the other hand, there are the “information handlers” that try to put the information in place for decisions to be made.

Humans are stuck at the intersection of information, technology and communication for their decision making, and it is an evolving process with some extra randomness thrown in.