The Information Overload Dilemma

Two weeks ago, thousands of attorneys and other legal professionals descended upon Manhattan to attend LegalTech New York, hoping to catch up on the latest legal technologies and innovations.

The annual LegalTech conference is sponsored by ALM with the goal of helping lawyers and law firms learn about the latest advances in legal-related technology. It features multiple educational tracks focused on a variety of legal technology issues, from ediscovery to knowledge management, cloud computing and social media.

One particularly interesting part of the conference was one the keynote presentations — “I3: The New Convergence of Intelligence, Intuition and Information” which featured a panel including Malcolm Gladwell (link to:, the New York Times bestselling author of “Blink” and “Outliers”; Thomson Reuters Chief Strategy Officer David Craig and Dr. Lisa Sanders, New York Times Magazine Diagnosis Columnist and technical advisor to the television program “House, M.D.”

The panel’s discussion was focused on the idea that the world increasingly suffers from information overload, which has the potential to overwhelm users if not properly managed. A common theme that arose throughout the discussion was that obtaining more information is not nearly as valuable as access to better information.

Despite their divergent backgrounds, the panelists agreed that the primary problem with information overload is that it can result in faulty decision making as well as an inability to even reach a decision due to the sheer volume of information available and the inability to process it.

Although none of the panelists had a concrete answer to this dilemma, they agreed that while increased access to information is good, the ability to locate and quickly process useful information is a must. The key to handling the information overload is for software and platform developers to find new ways to provide people with more efficient ways to access and process the most pertinent information.

Only time will tell if this task is one that can be actually accomplished or if information overload will simply be the status quo. For the sake of Internet users the world over, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping it’s the former.

Debbie Stephenson

Debbie Stephenson is a former Content Marketing Manager at Firmex.