Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Obama Calls Today's Ubiquitous Gadgets and Information "a Distraction"

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the what-pegs-your-truth-meter-precisely dept.

Education 545

zaphod was one of several readers unhappy with the sentiment expressed in President Obama's graduation address to the students of Virginia's Hampton University, writing: "According to Obama, 'information becomes a distraction' when it comes to iPads, the Xbox, etc. (All items he admits not knowing how to use.) He's basically saying we are getting too much information too quickly, and from 'unreliable sources.' Of course, he's referring to talk radio, blogs and other mediums that tend to disagree with his political views." CNET has a slightly different, less critical reaction, focusing on the differences among the actual devices named; they note that the Xbox is not an iPad.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

it wasn't a distraction last year (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153674)

you know, when St. Obama gave vague feel-good speeches and didn't have to make any decisions.

Re:it wasn't a distraction last year (5, Funny)

aurispector (530273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153760)

But that's because obama was the one saying it, so it was ok. Frankly, all this information makes me scared and confused. I wish they would start a department of truth in the government to tell me what I should be thinking.

Re:it wasn't a distraction last year (1, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153816)

I wish they would start a department of truth in the government to tell me what I should be thinking.

I'm assuming you've read 1984?

Re:it wasn't a distraction last year (5, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153972)

I'm assuming you've read 1984?

This is /. so no, I haven't read anything except the summary of that book, and quite frankly, I'm going to have say I was quite disappointed that it was nothing like the Apple ad it was based on. Go figure.

Re:it wasn't a distraction last year (1, Funny)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153990)

Why do I never have mod point when I really need them?

YMMD!

Re:it wasn't a distraction last year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153992)

I wish they would start a department of truth in the government to tell me what I should be thinking.

I'm assuming you've read 1984?

He was about to pick up a copy, but a big "whoosh" of air came out of nowhere and blew it away.

Re:it wasn't a distraction last year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32154058)

Nice assumption, Captain Obvious.

Re:it wasn't a distraction last year (5, Insightful)

tangelogee (1486597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153848)

I just find it funny, seeing as he was the one who wouldn't give up his Blackberry...

Re:it wasn't a distraction last year (3, Funny)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154094)

It just means he knows what he's talking about.

Re:it wasn't a distraction last year (5, Funny)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153954)

Double plus good.

Re:it wasn't a distraction last year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32154174)

They already do, it's called national media.

Re:it wasn't a distraction last year (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153854)

Careful. You're liable to get modded down by someone.

While there's some truth to what Obama says about being having so much information that it becomes a distraction (similar comments have been made about disclosure overload [shoemoney.com] : everyone writes incredibly long, boring, impossible-to-parse "terms of service", "EULA", and other bits attached to products...), the original article does have a point about most people's definition of an "unreliable source" being "a source I don't agree with."

Obama's political opponents flourish in certain media. So it's in his best interest (while being rather divorced from honesty and reality) for him to call them names and tar them as "unreliable." Likewise, the media sections that do love Obama - such as the alphabet-soup media - are more than happy to not cover certain stories. And this follows from all walks of life, just not Obama. For instance, let's take the Israeli/Palestinian bit.

Did you know that within a week of signing the Oslo Accords, Yassir Arafat was back on Palestinian radio, comparing the Oslo Agreement to the Truce of Medina (whereby Mohammed the "prophet" entered into a 10-year truce, then broke it two years later because he figured his army was now big enough to win), calling Oslo "the great deception"? No? Why not? Probably because the alphabet-soup media was, at the time, invested in Oslo.

Did you know that the Waqf, the Palestinian "authority" on the squatter's mosque at "Al Aqsa", have been deliberately excavating and destroying irreplaceable archaeological artifacts from beneath the site [jcpa.org] ? And why not? Again, the story's been buried.

Take the recent terrorist attack at Times Square. At 5pm that day, I was listening to ABC News, when they announced the search was on for a "40 year old white male" at the urging of the Obama administration. Whoops! You can find plenty of coverage of media spokesboobs talking about how they "didn't want" it to be what it clearly is: another taliban-type attack.

Information can indeed be distraction [wikipedia.org] , but just as important is realizing that bias expresses itself in many forms. You can tag certain things with certain words - I freely admit I consider the Waqf to be illegitimate, from studying the history of the squatter's mosque, but others can freely feel differently. You can write tilted stories that blatantly misuse or misrepresent statistics [wikipedia.org] . You can write "statistics" that have almost no connection to reality, due to bad sampling or tilted questions, and then quote them in a seemingly "neutral" piece "covering" the survey results. Or you can just bury a story entirely. Anyone who trusts one side's media or the other, exclusively, is setting themselves up for trouble.

Re:it wasn't a distraction last year (0, Troll)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154022)

Since your comment only pretends to be about information but really is about brown people, I think it exemplifies perfectly how information becomes distraction.

Re:it wasn't a distraction last year (0, Troll)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154186)

"Brown people"?

Your racism is showing...

Oh yeah? (-1, Flamebait)

cffrost (885375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153676)

cffrost calls whatever Obama likes a bunch of stupid bullshit.

First (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153682)

black president! :-)

Transparency (5, Insightful)

EaglemanBSA (950534) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153684)

Perhaps if his administration had the transparency he promised on the campaign trail, it would be easy to get the information people are seeking from credible, reliable sources.

Whether the President and his administration like it, this form of information sharing is very likely here to stay. Perhaps the best reaction would be to embrace it and use it as a positive differentiator from other administrations.

Re:Transparency (4, Funny)

AnEducatedNegro (1372687) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153774)

You're ignoring the good things President Obama has done:

        * Gitmo closed
        * Iraq War ended
        * Afghan War ended
        * Patriot Act is gone
        * Full employment
        * Deficit reduced
        * End of partisan politics
        * No lobbyists in his administration
        * Fast action on Oil Spill

Re:Transparency (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153932)

I can't imagine why with all those achievements he is so against an array of media outlets, you would think he would be glad there are not a few media sources that can be coerced into hiding his exemplary record.

Re:Transparency (1)

Quantumplation (1692804) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154096)

=P I find it funny that the democratic media in general (note: Trying my best not to make blanket statements, so if you get offended by this post it probably wasn't directed at you.) seemed content to brush the first 8 failed promises under the rug, but then get absolutely outraged that he hasn't done anything about the Oil Spill (a natural disaster he has little control over) despite the fact that he actually has put quite a bit of money into cleaning up this oil spill.

I dislike Obama as much as the next person, but seriously people, get your priorities straight. :)

Re:Transparency (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154110)

* Fast action on Oil Spill

No kidding. I hear the man's a wizard with a sponge.

Re:Transparency (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32154216)

The scary thing is that there are people reading this that probably don't know it's sarcasm.

Re:Transparency (5, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153870)

I think that a lot of people here are missing the point. It's not that people have access to too much information (i.e., that he doesn't agree with), but that the gadgetry itself and the triviality it promotes is absorbing so much time and attention that we're ignoring other things that might be more important to our civic lives. It's gotten to the point where kids (in particular) aren't even coming up for air sometimes.

That said, who knows where it will all lead, or whether it will be for better or worse or something in between. I'd like to think that we're strengthening democracy and public participation, but my fear is that control and manipulation may win the day...

Re:Transparency (2, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153920)

It's gotten to the point where kids (in particular) aren't even coming up for air sometimes.

There was plenty of air in my room, I had enough with a handful of friends and those who chose to run around kicking a ball, were intellectually on level with my pet turtle. But thanks for your concern.

Re:Transparency (4, Interesting)

EaglemanBSA (950534) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153966)

Mm, very interesting point. As an honest discussion-starting question, what are ways these new technologies could be used to promote democracy and involvement? As another post in this story says (and I totally agree), one of the biggest problems in our current form of government is a lack of involvement in and lack of importance placed on our democracy.

The ability to spread information so quickly and so ubiquitously could definitely be a useful tool for this, methinks.

Re:Transparency (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154050)

the gadgetry itself and the triviality it promotes is absorbing so much time and attention that we're ignoring other things that might be more important to our civic lives.

Our lives, civic or otherwise (I personally live en el campo and try to have as little to do with town as possible because I live in upper redneckistan) are made up of moments. Minutiae; minutes. What's more important than staying in touch with those we care about, or with information we care about? Not too much. You have to get work done, but being informed is a necessity if you want to work intelligently. If I spend half as much time working but get just as much done, it's hard to see it as a loss. Could I do twice as much? Maybe, but I am not work unit 23-4-12 beta. I am a human and would like to enjoy the sands through the hourglass, thanks.

It's gotten to the point where kids (in particular) aren't even coming up for air sometimes.

So kick their ass outside. [most] Children don't understand negative feedback loops at a deep level until you teach them.

That said, who knows where it will all lead, or whether it will be for better or worse or something in between. I'd like to think that we're strengthening democracy and public participation, but my fear is that control and manipulation may win the day...

As long as people are using their devices for communication there will be more benefits than drawbacks. Cooperation is what we need most right now. But as well, as long as ten media conglomerates control over 95% of the media in the USA and more than 50% of the media in the entire world, the media is more your enemy than your friend. Then again, the internet has given us unparalleled ability to access non-mainstream media; if the white house wants to improve the quality of our communications, how about reinstating laws that prevented a single entity from owning too many media outlets?

Re:Transparency (4, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153886)

it would be easy to get the information people are seeking from credible, reliable sources

Nope. The man who has a watch always knows the time. A man who has two is never sure.

Information won't be credible ever again, and that's a good thing: while there certainly will be propaganda from those who have the power to spread it, it'll be merely a drop in the bucket.

Re:Transparency (1)

EaglemanBSA (950534) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154026)

A man who has two watches will pay attention to the one that doesn't misinform him time and again, should the two prove to report very differently. Just saying.

I do think distributed reporting and a flood of information (we already have this, IMHO), is a good thing too. But the reporters who are most accurate or are most trusted will likely have quite a significant following, although perhaps not quite as significant as the guy screaming about the end of the world as we know it on his blog. If it has cute pictures of cats.

"Can Be" Not "Becomes" and a Biased Summary (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153688)

'information becomes a distraction'

I think it's more accurately stated that 'information can be a distraction' but, you know, it can also be a very useful tool both in learning and communicating. Everyone can have a Facebook account and everyone can read blogs but the programmer that spends much of his time reading reading blogs about programming and uses Facebook only to keep up with his friends periodically is going to outpace the programmer that spends 90% of his time on Facebook and 5% of his time reading movie reviews on blogs.

So, by and large, it comes down to -- surprise surprise -- responsible time management. Yes, too much information via the internet and mobile devices is a double edged sword. I cannot keep up with the papers on arxiv but if I learn to manage my time and quickly recognize which papers are worth my time then it is very valuable to an academic. Or I could spend my time playing Farmville. Both occupy my time and can be distractions.

Information is a very powerful tool, no matter how much you want to blame the method and frequency of delivery it's ultimately up to you what you do with it. I read transcript [buzzstation.net] and honestly I thought it was closer to this dualism than the summary lets on.

Of course, he's referring to talk radio, blogs and other mediums that tend to disagree with his political views.

I don't think so. He actually encourages reading both sides:

This development can be both good and bad for democracy. For if we choose only to expose ourselves to opinions and viewpoints that are in line with our own, studies suggest that we will become more polarized and set in our ways. And that will only reinforce and even deepen the political divides in this country. But if we choose to actively seek out information that challenges our assumptions and our beliefs, perhaps we can begin to understand where the people who disagree with us are coming from.

For once the Slashdot summary seemed to be even more politically charged and biased than the actual politician. The correct message is to manage your time well and exercise caution. Sound advice actually.

Re:"Can Be" Not "Becomes" and a Biased Summary (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153742)

I completely agree with you, but I think people who can manage time effectively as you do are in the very very very minority. And by that I mean, when you start including all the people not in IT or reading /.

Law of averages.

Re:"Can Be" Not "Becomes" and a Biased Summary (1)

fluffernutter (1411889) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153800)

I was just going to post the same. Look at the totality of facebook and tell me, honestly, how many people on there are practicing reasonable time management and how many are using the site to pass useful knowledge as opposed to wasting time?

Re:"Can Be" Not "Becomes" and a Biased Summary (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153952)

Look at the totality of facebook and tell me, honestly, how many people on there are practicing reasonable time management and how many are using the site to pass useful knowledge as opposed to wasting time?

It depends on your definition of "wasted time".

Re:"Can Be" Not "Becomes" and a Biased Summary (1)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154146)

Yeah right. Like reading and posting on /. is such a good example of intelligence and time management.

Re:"Can Be" Not "Becomes" and a Biased Summary (2, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153770)

For once the Slashdot summary seemed to be even more politically charged and biased than the actual politician. The correct message is to manage your time well and exercise caution. Sound advice actually.

I'm confused now - is slashdot part of the leftwing mainstream media conspiracy? Or is it part of the right wing independent news sources conspiracy (which are too small to be called mainstream, yet command a huge listening audience)??

Re:"Can Be" Not "Becomes" and a Biased Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153808)

I'm confused now - is slashdot part of the leftwing mainstream media conspiracy? Or is it part of the right wing independent news sources conspiracy (which are too small to be called mainstream, yet command a huge listening audience)??

Slashdot has long been home to a contingent of Ron Paul fans, so no, characterizing the Slashdot community as left-wing would be inaccurate and unfair. Much like the summary writer's unfairness in projecting a shallow political viewpoint onto the president.

Re:"Can Be" Not "Becomes" and a Biased Summary (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153822)

YES, you right-wing liberal commie Christian clod!

Re:"Can Be" Not "Becomes" and a Biased Summary (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153926)

'information becomes a distraction' when it comes to iPads, the Xbox, etc

I'm confused. Did he just say you can get too much information from an Xbox? Mr President I think you're showing your age. The only kind of information you get from an Xbox is how to frag your friends and such. Perhaps he should spend more time explaining why a disproportionate amount of former RIAA lawyers are serving in his Justice department. That's some information I'd like to understand. Is he planning on suing grannies who like to steal (steal not pirate) rap music?

That was then, this is now (4, Insightful)

MaggieL (10193) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153694)

Apparently he didn't consider Xbox a distraction when he was running in-game campaign ads on it.

That was then, this is now. After all, you can't trust media to be "accurate" if it isn't state controlled, like in China. Now. Before, you couldn't trust the media *because* it was state-controlled. Like HuffPo. Oh, wait...

Re:That was then, this is now (2, Insightful)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153790)

It has become all too obvious that President Obama, himself, is the true distraction.

Re:That was then, this is now (4, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153942)

"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job." ... --Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Anyone else been noticing the difference between what comes out of Obama's mouth, and what his administration actually does? The term "distraction" isn't far off the mark.

Says the guy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153700)

who can't let go of his smartphone.

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Firewall (5, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153704)

He meant that as information becomes decentralized, the government cannot control its distribution. The Users become the Producers and Creators, and also their own Network. Dissent can become viral, and that buffoon Robert Gibbs can barely stamp out a cockroach let alone an Internet meme. The best education also entertains, and the most effective dissent begins with satire.

"It's OK to enjoy your Bread and Circuses, Americans," Obama concluded his speech. "Just be sure that they are government issue. Thank You and Good Night."

Exactly, Obama should have said (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153880)

the Truth becomes a distraction.

No longer can government officials just hide behind friends in the press (print/broadcast). Very much how blogs turned up the heat on big media in 2004 it was a signal that many in government failed to see, that is, we the people can watch you, we can report on you, and we will.

Hence the little "trial balloons" floated about going after blogs and their commercial associations (reviewing products, people, etc). Anything to get some leverage on the new free voice. Can't wait for the changes to election laws going after blogs.

Nah, the blogs are grassroots and grassroots are the one thing DC is having a problem with. Trying to counter with their SEIU fake gatherings to offset Tea Partiers got exposed by blogs, not the news media. Face it DC, you can lie through the press but the press won't be our main source going forward.

It also works well for the leaders of other countries, namely Iran. Technology may for the short time give the regular person the upper hand until it can regulated into oblivion

Re:Exactly, Obama should have said (1)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154180)

Bloggers are the new pamphleteers?

Re:Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Firewall (1, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153882)

I think what he's getting at is that, as users become content producers and create their own network, being wrong can become viral. A web of blogs linking to other blogs as sources can become so far dissociated from truth that factual information can be hard to come by. Opinion is often recirculated until it becomes accepted fact; a problem that /. is certainly not immune to. That's the risk; Obama is clear that the possible benefits include dissent from centralized false-truths.

pot and kettles (2, Interesting)

dtzitz (937838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153706)

Is this the same man who couldn't/wouldn't be separated from his blackberry?

Re:pot and kettles (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153890)

Yep. [nytimes.com]

I missed that speech (4, Insightful)

Telecommando (513768) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153708)

I was intending to watch it but then I got a tweet from my bff and had to update my Facebook page and status on Foursquare.

Re:I missed that speech (1)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153994)

...and then check Slashdot first thing on Monday morning.

+5 Insightful (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153728)

"What Jefferson recognized... that in the long run, their improbable experiment -- called America -- wouldn't work if its citizens were uninformed, if its citizens were apathetic, if its citizens checked out, and left democracy to those who didn't have the best interests of all the people at heart."

Right on, and that is precisely the problem we have right now: most of the citizens do not care. People are not just unaware of the issues facing America and what their government is doing; they seem not to care about any of it at all.

Re:+5 Insightful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153814)

No but thank GOD we have Fox News, they are going to change all that and make people informed with fair and balanced news!!!

Re:+5 Insightful (2, Insightful)

EaglemanBSA (950534) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153818)

Personally, I think most of our population fails to recognize the magnitude of importance our right to vote and our basic form of government play into the rights and infrastructure we enjoy. We have indeed checked out, and we'll soon pay the price for it. Democracy's (even a democratic republic's, mind you) proper function hinges on the involvement of the people as a majority. That doesn't happen in the United States anymore.

Re:+5 Insightful (5, Insightful)

epiphani (254981) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153964)

Right on, and that is precisely the problem we have right now: most of the citizens do not care. People are not just unaware of the issues facing America and what their government is doing; they seem not to care about any of it at all.

From my perspective as an outsider who does catch a fair bit of America-centric media, the problem the US is having isn't that its citizenry doesn't care. It's that there are several extremely loud contingents of the population that are misinformed, not uninformed.

And those groups are also being used by embedded interests.

Re:+5 Insightful (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154056)

But that is essentially always the case, in every human society throughout history. It only becomes a problem when coupled with democracy. Republicanism (small-r) is an attempt to avoid both the bad effects of democracy and the bad effects of monarchy, oligarchy or other dictatorial/elitist ruling structures. Sadly, we have spent a century adapting our system to have the worst aspects of both democracy and monarchy, with the Senate as well as the House now populist and with the president increasingly monarchic. The only place we haven't gone yet is dynastic succession.

Re:+5 Insightful (1)

EaglemanBSA (950534) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154198)

The only place we haven't gone yet is dynastic succession.

The Dodds, Kennedys, Bushes and Clintons of the world would disagree. It's just less thinly veiled than one might expect, _at the moment_.

Re:+5 Insightful (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154208)

...they seem not to care about any of it at all.

Oh they care alright. They care when it hurts their pockets. When people cant afford their house anymore, cant afford to feed their family, cant afford clothing, then they start to care. If they can afford all that and live they could care less.

I hate getting my news from XBox (4, Funny)

SirLoadALot (991302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153730)

It's always "aliens have invaded", or "nuke goes off in major city", or "Duke Nukem is still not available"...

Re:I hate getting my news from XBox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153784)

It's always "aliens have invaded", or "nuke goes off in major city", or "Duke Nukem is still not available"...

I sometimes tune into CNN, where lately it has been "terrorists have invaded", and "oil rig explodes near major cities", and "climate change bill is still not available". Which is scarier?

It's really the students' fault (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153732)

Playing their damn hoppity-hip music way too loud on their iWalkPods, and will they please get off his lawn, he ain't going to ask them again.

Bill Gates talked about this a decade ago (5, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153736)

Bill Gates talked about Information Fatigue years ago when Microsoft was trying to bring together disparate information systems with their backend server tools.

Here's an article from 2006
http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/execmail/2006/05-17eim.mspx [microsoft.com]

The idea was that it wasn't too much information coming in that was the problem. Rather it was too much pure data and "dumb" information being presented to users. This led to users getting too wrapped up in filtering this information themselves and spending too little time with the data that they truly needed.

Pascal once wrote "The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter." Cutting through the vast amount of unnecessary data to get to important intelligence is time consuming. Obama is right, but he's also a decade late.

Why is it presented as political? (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153738)

I agree there's no reliable information and alot of disinformation saturating quality information on the internet.
To me it's a shame seeing "online newssites" or the online version of paper news are following the sensationalist online buzz-kindof attitude instead of bringing quality and authenticity.

You can very well disagree, as information needs to be free but it gets hard to filter out relevant and solid information and one doesn't always have the time to take an intersection of information.

Take this simple example: Moonlanding.
On youtube alone I would get claims of it being faked, structures being found on the moon, ancient spacetravelling civilisations, Nibiru, a 10th planet who is floating around, a theory our Astroid belt is actually a remnant of an impact with earth and Anunaki visiting our planet thousands of years ago, the deeper you dig, the further there's misinformation.

Now, as the critical minds of the average slashdotter knows to seperate or "make an educated guess" on which information is correct, the median intersection will not be able to do so.

There is, in my view, a need for trustable information without it being controlled by a government or an entity with simular interests.

Re:Why is it presented as political? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153864)

There is, in my view, a need for trustable information without it being controlled by a government or an entity with simular interests.

And who is this apolitical news controller?

Or are you saying there's a need for anarchic trustable news provider. Who is going to promote the creation of the anarchic trustable news provider? What are the assurances that it ever continues to be, in fact, anarchic and trustable?

Re:Why is it presented as political? (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153948)

And who is this apolitical news controller? Or are you saying there's a need for anarchic trustable news provider.

Well, I've thought a while about this in the past and it's hard to define "trusted and solid information" or a method to achieve that.
You'd expect journalists to provide that, but they don't as proven many times.
Maybe wikipedia does a good job, or the concept is good, but I lack the vision how one could apply that process to all information or media.

I made my nuance trying to hint towards the potential misuse if an entity with a certain agenda who has control over media and information might actively send out disinformation to their advantage.

Re:Why is it presented as political? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154012)

There is, in my view, a need for trustable information without it being controlled by a government or an entity with similar interests.

Impossible to achieve; *everyone* has interests, nobody is completely impartial.

In my opinion, it's better to have all sorts of biased information sources than having only one.

I agree with Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153750)

I agree with Obama's sentiment. We are entering an age where we are being bombarded with information 24 hours a day, beyond our ability to consume it. It is a real problem that is only getting worse. We are going to turn into a society of ADD junkies hooked on useless information.

i can't hear you over my short attention span (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153752)

Hey, for once I agree with St. Obama. I realize that geeks are never going to admit it, but there is a price for our geekery. How many of us are distracted, and have short attention spans. Let's take a moment to think about...

Hey look... an ipad....

W

Re:i can't hear you over my short attention span (0, Redundant)

1s44c (552956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154144)

Hey, for once I agree with St. Obama. I realize that geeks are never going to admit it, but there is a price for our geekery. How many of us are distracted, and have short attention spans. Let's take a moment to think about...

Hey look... an ipad....

W

That might have been modded funny but you are DEAD RIGHT. It's not just geeks that buy flashy phones and laptops though.

Obama has a point, but methinks he lacks finesse (2, Insightful)

qwerty8ytrewq (1726472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153764)

The speech writer was a bit off their game that day from the sounds of it. There are way to many writers currently confusing message with medium, and gadgets with tools. If the user is focussed or disciplined, it all becomes much more about what they are trying to do. So no, Obama, our brains are not rotting from too much ibox. Maybe if the Obama administration made some proactive legislation around data privacy, rights to anonymity, restrictions on advertising in public commons, rather than slinging mud around about simple living, just because the wifey gardens.

Re:Obama has a point, but methinks he lacks finess (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153950)

The last decent presidential speech writer was Peggy Noonan [peggynoonan.com]

While her WSJ editorials are often riddled with religious crap, she was a hell of a speech writer for Reagan.

Such an amazing insight, no wonder he's president. (2, Funny)

slashsloth (1596555) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153776)

Did he announce this using twitter?

It's not rocket science. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153780)

He's the President of the USA but cannot work out how to use an iPod or xBox?

And this is coming from the man who "accidentally" let it slip, whilst he was campaigning for the Presidency that he had an iPod of his own.
Does his wife have to put music on it for him? Or his children maybe?

Re:It's not rocket science. (2, Insightful)

SlowGenius (231663) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153998)

He's the President of the USA but cannot work out how to use an iPod or xBox?

And this is coming from the man who "accidentally" let it slip, whilst he was campaigning for the Presidency that he had an iPod of his own.
Does his wife have to put music on it for him? Or his children maybe?

You're absolutely right--he must be some kind of a slacker moron, because in his copious free time he doesn't even bother to keep up with the latest gizmos. He's probably wasting his time figuring out useless crap like how to make the planet a better place for his children or some shit like that. I mean, really, what kind of fucktarded N008 can't even be bothered to surf over to pirate bay to rip off his own music?

A good point really - PR becomes "news" (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153804)

A lot of expensive and finely crafted bullshit hits the news on frequent occasions and often the revelation that it is a lie is often much later, towards the back of the newspaper or in a few blogs.
The ultimate of course is the WMD "intelligence" from a PR firm but of course there is plenty that all sides of politics would be disgusted by.
Good questions to ask about extreme views are who is paying for it, who benefits, and why isn't it on the BBC or other overseas news sources?
You really need a better news source than a coke addled ex-DJ who is advertising whatever view he is paid to push each week.

Misrepresented comment (5, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153806)

Obama wasn't calling out particular devices. 5 years ago it would gave been "laptops on wifi, iPods, MP3 players, Cellphones with net connections, Playstation and Nintendo mobile" Yes both iPods and mp3 players :) adds that presidential touch.

In any case he's warning an at risk group of university students to focus on their education rather than being distracted by always on media and Media.

These speeches aren't always 100% addressing the greatr society. Sometimes they specifically address the physical audience.

Personal opinion != Government policy (5, Insightful)

spookymonster (238226) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153838)

This was a graduation address, not a state of the union speech. He's not laying down policy here. He's speaking to a very specific audience (graduating students) about a very specific topic (transitioning from school to the workforce). This was not the preamble to new legislation, nor should it be misconstrued as such.

IMHO, Eisenhower's Council on Youth Fitness was a far more intrusive condemnation of how we spent our leisure time than this.

Re:Personal opinion != Government policy (2)

PHPfanboy (841183) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154066)

In other words "Barrack's just this guy, y'know"

teach them (1)

newviewmedia.com (1137457) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153840)

It's only a distraction if kids do not get taught how to effectively manage all of this information. Can't figure out why most classes in school revolve around memorizing repetitive mind numbing facts instead of getting into the theory. In todays world it's about knowing how to research and analyze information from the internet and other data sources.

Re:teach them (1)

happy_place (632005) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154072)

Where does one get appropriate training for media management these days?

Last time I checked, the most valuable classes were laden with difficult concepts and required a lot of work to master.

This isn't a teaching thing, it's a matter of self-discipline.

In moderation media's helpful and can provide interesting and thought-provoking enhancements to one's studies, but consider the way that edu-info-tainment channels like History channel and Discovery are approaching the subject matter that they attempt to teach, and it's kinda funny. Lots of CGI, fast-paced music, jiggly cameras, and an overly dramatic announcer with a famous voice like Oprah or Morgan Freeman, all talking about what? Mating penguins? And then there's all the unscholarly conjecture, speculation and personification that goes on in these shows to make them more "accessible" to the audience.

While I'm no serious fan of Obama, and think it's ridiculous to restrict information with which I personally disagree, I do see how a constant dependence upon devices for our information and entertainment needs could create weak-minded adults.

Woah it's early for this... (4, Funny)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153856)

I gotta run and get my popcorn for the 'discussions' on this topic. Let the political ego nukes fly!

Wow, you guys are touchy. (5, Insightful)

ReneeJade (1649107) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153894)

I know that most governments are corrupt and all that, but did Obama really say anything wrong this time? He was addressing a group of students when he said that information overload and quickly accessible information can be distracting. You know what? He's right. I'm a student. I find video games, TV shows, Slashdot, overclocking forums, Linux forums, email, telephone, new software, Facebook notifications, to be hugely distracting. I would go so far as to say that I am mildly addicted to new, bite-sized pieces of information. It doesn't help that I already have ADHD - but the Internet and other computer-based media go a long way in keeping me off-track.

On Unreliability (1)

CodingHero (1545185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153898)

I would call Twitter, blogs, Facebook, etc. unreliable in the sense that you're hearing only part of the story from one person. They might be putting their own spin on it to support their own beliefs, or they might be drawing conclusions which are valid given the knowledge they have but which are not when all the information is taken into account.

Politicians are reliable sources? (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153902)

"According to Obama, 'information becomes a distraction' when it comes to iPads, the Xbox, etc. (All items he admits not knowing how to use.) He's basically saying we are getting too much information too quickly, and from 'unreliable sources.'

More reliable sources include politicians??? I'd much rather learn from a fictional X-Box game. It's much more likely to be based on the truth.

It should be illegal for any politician to pass laws about things he has no fucking idea about. If he hasn't used that class of gadget he should just shut his fucking mouth. I had high hopes for your president, but I have to say they're in ruins.

look what's coming out of the woodwork... (5, Insightful)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153906)

...Wow, did half of the posters here even read the article? Obama's not pro-censorship, he's not arguing that x-box's, twitter and facebook should be taken away:

"With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation,"
"some of the craziest claims can quickly claim traction," in the clamor of certain blogs and talk radio outlets.

What Obama is saying, is that in this day and age of massive media coverage you shouldn't always believe what you read. He's encouraging the students to find alternate sources of information, to actually investigate something before spouting off and further propagating the Chinese Whisper... You know, basically what most of the people replying to this article did.

TROLLKORe (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153928)

Niggers every&where hapless *BSD By the politickers

The transcript (5, Informative)

medcalf (68293) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153944)

is here [wtkr.com] , and here is the paragraph that people are taking issue with:

And meanwhile, you're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter. And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- (laughter) -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it's putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.

What I find interesting is not the assertion about the devices, and information becoming entertainment — that's been true since at least the beginnings of edutainment and of news as entertainment almost twenty years ago. For me, the interesting part is the first sentence: "And meanwhile, you're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter." It seems to me that throughout history, the times when truth has been the major component of the information we are given have been few and far between. For example, the news media in the US, despite their pretensions to objectivity, haven't been particularly honest at any time in their history. Even in WWII, the war correspondents left out more than they said, and that was probably the height of objectivity in the news. Heck, the news media was in great part responsible for fomenting the Spanish-American War (google "yellow journalism"), reported the propaganda of Saddam Hussein as news in order to maintain access, and spent years trying to talk us into a recession (note the tone of economic reporting under Bush vs. that under Obama, and compare that to the actual statistics).

In other words, the real requirement we have is not to shut off the flows of information, or even to tilt at the windmill of trying to ensure that all the information we have access to is truthful, but to armor ourselves with scepticism, basic statistical knowledge, and deep historical knowledge so that we, individually, can sort out the truth from the lies, distortions and agenda-driven propaganda we are faced with.

Re:The transcript (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153960)

Ack, used blockquote instead of quote. Here's the paragraph:

And meanwhile, you're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter. And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- (laughter) -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it's putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.

Well I see his point, but... (5, Interesting)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32153958)

I agree with him on this one. Sort of...

We are getting distracted by disinformation from bloggers who crave web hits over actual journalism. We also don't place enough value on actual journalists (you know the trained professions) who go out in the field and research the report, and their editors who fact check the story (*cough*) before it is placed on the web or in print.

We live in an echo chamber. Where if it's linked by three bloggers then it must be true. Where if it's similar to what you wish were true then it must be true.

My only beef is that he didn't mind the unsubstantiated "information" that benefited his position and allowed him to win an election with nothing more than a "Yes We Can" slogan.

Live by the tweets and blogs, die by the tweets and blogs...

I think it would be more accurate to say that we are distracted by technology (games, tweets, etc.) instead of actually trying to learn something... Really, how many teenagers are actually using technology to learn something beneficial? Really?

Obama's right, we're being killed by info overload (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32153974)

Information overload is killing us and our productivity. All the electronic gadgets and communication in the workplace keep us from getting our jobs done and are causing enormous stress (which is shortening our lives).

http://www.cio.com/article/169200/Information_Overload_Is_Killing_You_and_Your_Productivity [cio.com]

"The report ("The 'Too Much Information' Age: What CIOs Can Do About It") cites Accenture research that demonstrates the deluge and resulting confusion: 42 percent of IT managers complain that they are bombarded by too much information; 39 percent say they can't figure out which information is current; 38 percent say they need to weed out duplicate information; and 21 percent say they don't understand the value of the information they do receive. "

Googling shows lots more links for - Information Overload Productivity

A warning. (1, Insightful)

PowerEdge (648673) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154046)

Never trust them (those in power) even if we elected them to CHANGE our system.

They hate these new devices because they don't control them yet. Look at totalitarian states all around the world, all politicians' DREAMLANDS because they control every facet of information and the minutiae of everyday lives of their subjects. I don't care if your politician is Ron Paul, Ronald Reagan, or Barack Obama. They all dreamed of a place they can control us from. That is why in our society we have to keep them in check. We have to let them know who is boss and that they are chosen to SERVE US. If they can't get over the yellow press, the "rumors" the "false information". if they can't calibrate their message to appeal to the mass of us, that is THEIR problem and not ours.

Barack Obama, your Chavez is showing. At least we know how to recognize it, we learned it in the time frame between 1763 and 1789.

Now to be down-ranked into oblivion by the enlightened leftosphere...

The Apple iPad, it doesn't burn at 451 degrees but by golly we'll figure out a way to eliminate it's subversive information delivery capability!

Oh, and BHO... The Xbox is an entertainment platform. Maybe the Whitehouse should mandate what games are played on it, like:

The Healthcare Bill: Acquiesing your personal freedoms to the bueracracy 2011. Learn how to avoid fraud detection by the Healthcare Police. Work your way up from menial claims clerk to head of the HHS, or in Death Panel mode, decide who gets the life saving operation and who doesn't!!!

Sounds like a lot of fun. maybe even more than Madden NFL 2011.

Of course what was written above is just a warning and not a foretelling of events to come.

For the hearing impared (0, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154076)

US President Barack Obama lamented Sunday that in the iPad and Xbox era, information had become a diversion that was imposing new strains on democracy, in his latest critique of modern media.

- translation: it used to be that you got your 'news' from the government approved controlled sources such as news papers, TV, radio and such. What is happening now is that the Government cannot realistically control all of the ways people communicate anymore and it is a problem, since the diversion of the fake news is no longer the only source of 'information' that is overpowering all other sources.

"You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank all that high on the truth meter," Obama said at Hampton University, Virginia.

- translation: there are too many difference dissenting voices that those in Power do not like you to hear and do not want you to listen to.

"With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," Obama said.

- translation: with all this technology, which I as a lawyer see as obstacles standing on the way of having total control of information and think needs to be regulated into oblivion but I still didn't figure a way to do so, it is hard to keep your attention on the only sources of 'information' that I approve of. Obviously it is not right that some believe that in today's America, the only reliable news-sources are satire channels where the actual truth is reported in such condescending yet pleasurable way that it attracts both, the serious people hungry for information and the more numerous general public just looking for some entertainment.

"some of the craziest claims can quickly claim traction,"

- translation: I am going to equate everyone who I do not approve of, so the crazy people who say I am an African born Muslim are seen in the same light, as those who say I am a corporate whore.

"All of this is not only putting new pressures on you, it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy."

- translation: Goddamnit! I can't take it anymore that people actually are aware of what the Government and specifically the White House is doing on actual issues, I can't have it, it's preposterously difficult to do one thing and pretend to do the other because you just know it, the audience can get the actual story behind the 'news'.

"We can't stop these changes... but we can adapt to them," Obama said, adding that US workers were in a battle with well-educated foreign workers.

- translation: but don't you worry, we'll get right on this problem, we'll come up with something to stop the alternative news from coming out, from information being spread in non-approved manner.

Re:For the hearing impared (-1, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154092)

continued:

"A black woman, in 1929, refusing to be denied her dream of a college education," Obama said, reprising Height's life story.

"Refusing to be denied her rights, refusing to be denied her dignity, refusing to be denied... her piece of America's promise."

- translation: blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

"What Jefferson recognized... that in the long run, their improbable experiment -- called America -- wouldn't work if its citizens were uninformed, if its citizens were apathetic, if its citizens checked out, and left democracy to those who didn't have the best interests of all the people at heart.

"It could only work if each of us stayed informed and engaged, if we held our government accountable, if we fulfilled the obligations of citizenship."

- blah blah blah, I do great speeches, blah blah blah, need to throw some FUD in, will set the expectation that the current situation is not sustainable for our Government's status-quo, blah blah blah.

Information vs data (1)

broknstrngz (1616893) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154078)

Back in the day (no earlier than 10ish years ago) it was far more challenging to obtain information. I'll pick a particular example: I was trying to learn how to play guitar. The only ways of doing it were either going to an instructor or buying a book (or both). Both of these represent data, not information. Data is just a bunch of stuff, information is a conclusion you draw after a careful examination of the said stuff. Further more, in smalls town like mine there were only a handful of instructors and almost no books. Therefore all all data was carefully filtered and sorted before assimilation and turning into information. Nowadays there's a plethora of ways of learning how to play the guitar, but it comes as information - "here's how you play Sweet Home Alabama, put your fingers here and here and then there and there", for instance. As kids these days are simply being given conclusions, not prerequisites, they seem to have totally lost the appetite for putting thoughts together and learning something from that. I've observed quite a few of them (I've two young cousins and my mom is a high school teacher and shares insights about her pupils), they've all exhibited the same symptoms.

fuck the federal government (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154100)

when they are at their best they are incompetent boobs, and at worst corrupted tyrannical assholes

But... (1)

palmerj3 (900866) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154108)

So, is his blackberry that he can't live without distracting him?

Someone's throwing strawmen here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32154116)

And this got into slashdot? Well, Obama is right. We're receiving too much information! It's trivial knowledge, and not limited just to new technology.

There's no counter-argument in that critique. It's only some idiot trying to cause bad reputation. Zero information content.

"he's referring to talk radio, blogs (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154120)

and other mediums that tend to disagree with his political views"

in obama's defense, calling talk radio and blogs as "mediums that tend to disagree with his political views" is like describing the ebola virus as "organic matter that tends to disagree with your right to live"

talk radio and political blogs are seething venomous pits of propaganda, whether from right or left, and are not valid sources of anything. nevermind the laughable idea they offer polite respectable disagreement to your political views. is a ranting lobotomized alzheimer's patient infected with rabies a "disagreement with your political views"?

mindless partisan hate (left OR right), which is all talk radio or political blogs are, is are completely useless. echo chambers for people who have turned off their minds. completely unthinking, loud, tired, endlessly rehashed pointless drivel. talk radio and political blogs are septic systems of the mind, and are not valid reactions to anything anyone says or does, whether right or left. the less talk radio you listen to and political blogs you read, indeed, the clearer your mind. reading a blatantly left wing or right wing blog probably instantly (temporarily) lowers your iq

in such a respect obama is 100% correct. if gw bush said the same thing, he would be correct to. because it doesn't matter the source of the observation, because the observation is not an attack on the right or the left. if osama bin laden told you it is important to wash your hands after using the toilet, does the source of that observation make the statement immediately suspect? no: its important to wash your hands after leaving the toilet, even osama bin laden recognizes this. therefore, it is equally true what obama says about talk radio and political blogs, whether said by him or sarah palin about left wing blogs. left OR right wing: talk radio and political blogs are poison to the mind

so obama's observation is completely valid. talk radio and political blogs are not coherent sources of impartial information. talk radio and political blogs are mental filth and they destroy civil society by turning it into a race to the bottom of mindless attacks and smears

As If He Has Nothing Better To Do (1)

blcamp (211756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154128)

Clearly, he has plenty of time to piss and moan about what people choose to do with their leisure time, and it's much more important to lecture us on that rather than focus on the oil spill in the gulf, or the wars overseas, or our hemmhoraging job market, or any other less important thing in this country.

This, coming from a guy hooked on a Crackberry.

Republican rhetoric (3, Insightful)

Bysshe (1330263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154182)

"Of course, he's referring to talk radio, blogs and other mediums that tend to disagree with his political views."

What is this bullshit? Sounds like someone's still bitter about losing the election.

Didn't this guy (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154212)

Didn't Obama announce his VP candidate via Twitter first? Probably leaving thousands of bloggers and newsrooms constantly refreshing their feeds?

This coming from the man who.... (1)

realsilly (186931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32154226)

... refused to give up his Crackberry upon entering office.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?