Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

There is such a thing as too fast

I just got around to reading SCOTUSblog's account of What Happened on June 28th -- that is, the debacle where CNN and Fox both announced that the individual mandate had been struck down, when it hadn't been. (Thanks to gyzki for pointing me to the article.)

The story is well worth reading, and not just for those interested in law and healthcare -- it's actually one of the most important communications-tech stories of our time. The upshot is that CNN shot itself in the foot by being *too* efficient in news dissemination, and thinking that that was the most important thing. What's shocking is the realization that the story takes far longer to read than it took to happen: the first several pages are basically the first 90 seconds of the tale -- time enough for people to read the beginning of the decision, come to the wrong conclusions, and broadcast those conclusions nationally before they got to skimming page 3.

The moral of the story is that we've gotten to the point where we can now distribute information globally faster than we can *think*. That has profound implications, not least that, if you're in communications, and human beings are part of your communications chain, you need to be acutely aware that they are quite likely to be your weakest link, and you need to design your systems to take that very carefully into account. The GIGO Principle (Garbage In, Garbage Out) has hit downright dangerous levels.

(The story is, BTW, almost blackly funny in places. I halfway hope Newsroom survives a couple of years, solely because this is the tale that show was born to tell...)
Tags: technology
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