We need a Digital Cortex

You complain about “information overload” and “attention scarcity.” Me too. So many unread emails, a thousand unread RSS posts, 4 instant messaging accounts, 100 interesting things on Digg and a bunch of new friend requests on MySpace. Lots of businesses have been built and many books have been written for trying to solve these problems. But I want to propose that versions of these problems (and much harder versions at that) are already being successfully solved by a different hardware/software platform:

Your brain.

This is the first in a series of posts about the parallels between what the brain does and what of our online tools do (or aspire to do). Note that I think this is more than just an interesting parallel, but that the internet tools we are building should be learn from and integrate better with our existing biological infrastructure. We feel overwhelmed because our built-in tools evolved in a radically different information landscape than what we now encounter. What I’m saying is: We need a better digital cortex.