Information overload is often considered as the basic problem of the post-industrial society. In the industrial society, we had too little energy; in the post-industrial society, we have too much information. However, this is like surveying a huge sm–rg”sbord and crying overload because we can not eat it all. In our outside-in education, in which being educated is viewed as stuffing oneself full of facts, we are overwhelmed by the fact that we could not even assimilate the contents of our local library in our lifetime. The inside-out teacher, who views education as growing from the inside out, welcomes our enriched environment. One of the few conclusions we psychologists have reached is that so-called stupid people grow up in impoverished environments and so-called smart people grow up in enriched environments. Beneath the pseudo-problem of information overload, however, there lurks a real problem of management of complexity. Our enriched objective world enables us to build a subtle, sophisticated subjective map of it. The ultimate writing/drawing space of virtual reality/cyberspace, in which we write/draw on the whole environment, will be a valuable tool in dealing with such complexity.

      The academy has tended to confine itself largely to the first and second generations of talk-and-chalk. Communication studies could invite our colleagues into the third and fourth generations. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a one-hour video, at 30 frames per second, is worth 1,000 times 30 times 60 times 60 - that is, 108,000,000 words. Chunking 1,000 words into an image and 108,000,000 words into a video is a powerful strategy for managing complexity. The complexity of a text-based explanation can often be greatly simplified by transforming it into an image-based explanation.

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