Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Science and Society / Analytical work: the experience of Russian and foreign experts / Articles
What is information noise and how to deal with it
Material posted: Publication date: 13-12-2018
Information noise — the scourge of our time, and from the need to be protected. This article will discuss the major sources of noise and ways of dealing with it.

What is information noise

Nowadays you notice that many people are not well versed in the subject that actively discuss. They claim to know much on this issue, but somehow during the conversation, felt only a superficial knowledge, not even that is sketchy. People mostly do not understand causal relationships in the vast amount of information received.

Now happening the information revolution, the information ceased to be available, valuable and fundamental. Early to get the cool book, it was necessary to stand in line or get it through the tenth hands such a publication was at a premium. Special training courses for ordinary people almost was not. Recipes cooking was hereditary, and by the advice of the elders listened as the most important.

Now in one click you can explore the Universe, understand the business rules, to learn 25 recipes of salad, to master the technology of installation of drywall. Season it with the top blogs, likes, quotes, email, TV shows, and the most delicious.

Information noise is an unfiltered stream of information, in which the usefulness of the data obtained is reduced directly proportional to the number of the data.

There is a concept in data transfer, as "signal to noise". It determines the amount and the reception quality information on the interference (noise) from the source to the receiver. So, if the noise is strong or dominant over the usefulness of the information, the system will be unstable with errors and, therefore, wrong to complete the task. All of the above can be attributed to man.

To improve the reception quality in engineering put filters or improve the source (receiver). In a situation with people you can do similar things.

What is the danger

Previously valued the ability to perceive information, learn, and most importantly, use it. It's a little different: you should be able to sort and filter information flows, and the main becomes her search. Feel the difference?

Not in vain had Evernote, Pocket, bookmark, cloud storage. The human brain can no longer digest all the information, it simply remembers where it is and how it is stored. He doesn't want to remember cause-and-effect relationships. The brain becomes faster computer.

The danger is not that the computer will one day begin to think like man, and that man once begin to think like a computer.

Sidney Harris (Sydney Harris)

People now do not want to analyze and perceive the information, he begins to get used to the simple infopotok, without understanding that there is (think skimming). But in this lies the main danger: produces dependency information. Courses, blogs, articles, videos, photos — this takes a lot of energy and time, and the sense output is often zero.

Sources of noise


The main villain of our time. Megapolice unnecessary information: advertising, TV shows, news, movies, and even just switching channels in search of something interesting.


The second largest generator of noise. With the advent of the Internet has collapsed all the barriers to necessary and unnecessary information.

Man believes that he knows the situation on the Internet that gets it to where he wants. And did you notice how the search for the answer to your question you shoveled a dozen websites, read a few of fake reviews, looked at a couple of ad units, and often checked email and posted in the chat a social network? And you think that your brain filtered out the necessary information well? Probably not.


A powerful source of noise — the audio channel. Discussion of empty live music in different directions, advertising. But the main stream of noise we perceive when a radio in a public place: it is superimposed on the existing noise and puts the brain completely.


Earlier newspaper was the only source of external information, they were not so crammed with stuff. Now afraid to open a newspaper, especially the advertising type. Even in a good National Geographic 30% of the information is is elite and still have to read: it is very difficult not to.


It is everywhere, it envelops our lives: banners, billboards, brochures, tickers, context. With it's really hard to fight: it is still paying attention, anyway, she already eats on a subconscious level.

Background information

This includes all other sources: conversations, books, smartphones, pointers, instructions, and so on. Of all you can make a simple conclusion: we are living with the information every day, we are literally soaked.

How to deal with information noise

The main recommendation is to understand what all know and to keep track of everything is impossible. The brain is not a computer, it is, unfortunately, not multitasking. You need to reduce the range of necessary knowledge on the current stage of life.

Limit the use of the Internet

If you are a blogger. Many now write about Internet addiction: people can not be without email, reading articles, subscriptions, other bloggers. And this dependence is very difficult to overcome. Yes, they are right, but the main cause of the problem, paradoxically, is the blog. Get a blog — the problem will disappear.

How to reduce noise: clean tape information, bookmarks, subscribe by email, favorite social media groups, sites to the minimum, with which you will be comfortable. Leave only the necessary information. This should be done firmly: removed and forgotten.

Create your buffer information area, protect yourself from all the excess. Not worth it useless to read and communicate with others because of blogger courtesy.

Stop reading diagonally. So you relax your brain. Stop reading what is not related to your direction. Want to read something different — save the information in the tabs, and if it is not in demand in the near future, then feel free to delete forever, not even read.

There should be a mode of checking mail and commenting. Who else wants to either in the morning or in the evening with coffee and cookies — but this mode should be mandatory.

If you are a normal Internet user. Here's another problem — the social network. Bloggers simply less sit in social networks. We must understand that social network to create information noise in your head. So much useless information not generates nothing (even the TV loses): likes, photos, quotes, texts, comments, contests, news about anything — all this in unimaginable numbers.

Now imagine: there are people who have more than 1,000 friends, more than 60 groups in selected, more than 300 photos and videos. How much for this Packed information clusters in the head? If not for my professional activity, I would have retired from social networking.

Shorten the stay in the social sphere to one hour per day, filter your news feed, keep only the necessary people and groups. And it is better to delete your unwanted accounts. You have no idea how the head will be cleaner. Try an experiment: do not go in Facebook, Vkontakte and other social networks for a week. Work? I think with difficulty.

Stop to comment on everything and to conduct empty correspondence on the forums. Walk more, play sports, use the Internet only for professional and creative growth and don't forget about the hard filter.

Eliminate TV

The recommendation is simple: remove the TV from the life in principle. Believe me, nothing you will not lose. All the important information you will learn proven. Children TV contraindicated twice.

Sometimes affects the race for big TV-harvesters, and the smaller the family income, the larger the TV.

Filter radio

It's a moot point. There is a good radio, with reasoning and interesting stories. But most of all, entertaining and accompanied by advertising.

You can listen to audio books and my music, and from ready-made playlists according to your mood. Listen to the low gear which really can help you. When put in an environment where someone else plays radio, have to turn off (mute) or listen to your audiokollektsii.

Make the days of silence

Rest sometimes from information: walk, get out of the city, go to the exhibition, engage in a quiet hobby or repair. Or just sleep as much as you like, not in a hurry (this is very useful). Limit the flow of incoming information to zero, well this helps the village or cottage.

Read useful books

Simple advice, but many did not even perform. In this case it is necessary to read in a quiet environment when no one and nothing distracts. During reading working memory, creative thinking, appeared analytical insights. Read helpful literature, but not in huge quantities. Do not use the trainer. Avoid dime novels.

Be aware of information

Understand, you can not just know, not all the time, it's not read. A better understanding of fundamental information on one important issue than the surface one in five. Surfing the Internet is bad, but to understand and identifying cause-and-effect relationship is really cool.

If you realize it, you will understand what information you need and that is not even worth wasting precious time. Do not think that reading 150 sites or blogs you develop. Fight the distraction.

Does not generate noise

Finally, the most interesting: it is important not to generate noise themselves. We ourselves are often the spammers in the information space. Likes, links, comments, emails, photos, videos. It is not necessary to do action for action's sake, because everyone is doing it or out of politeness. Think and need this your information to others? If you do not clog up the news channel?

Remember: every word must be worth their weight in gold.


RELATED MATERIALS: Science and Society