What is one of the first things you ask in a call to a person on a cell phone, particularly your teenager? "Where are you?" So there is no longer any time, distance or place limiting human communication. Those of us alive today are unique in human history to live in that environment. Place no longer matters for communication.
The Internet browser as a mass product was introduced in 1995. Since then, the speed of our connections and the bandwidth we use has increased exponentially. More information coursed through the Internet backbone yesterday than passed through it in all of 1995. The impossible-to-measure number of websites in the world today is in the hundreds of millions—perhaps 500 million or more. Search engines deliver search queries in fractions of seconds. As I wrote in my last column, it seems like access to all human knowledge and events are always available at your fingertip.
All of this communications connectivity occurred in the past 150 years, and most of it occurred in the past 30 years. The amount of information we have access to and the speed of connectivity we use to access it is multiples of what our parents' experienced and vastly more than 100 years ago when the telephone and radio started to reach the greater population.
During this same time, our brains didn't get bigger, our reflexes didn't get faster, yet we are called upon to somehow manage this immediacy and overload with essentially the same physiological makeup of past generations. What can we do and how can we do it?