Skip to Content

Please summarize this post

Jun 28, 2024
Bart Vanparys

When I’m in a bookshop I often wonder: who reads all those books? Who has that much time to read the amazing number of books that continue to be published? The same thing in the workplace: the information overload in our mailboxes and various feeds is staggering.

As we see how Gen AI is enthusiastically used around us to generate even more content, I cannot help but wonder: what’s the point of this volume of generated content that can never be read, digested or processed by us humans? This is exacerbated by our degrading ability to focus, thanks to click-maximizing content providers.

Information processing has become one of the key professional skills. The ability to filter important items from a continuous stream of information. The ability to focus on a topic and identify the best course of action. The ability to understand and absorb the interesting nuggets in a haystack of information. These used to be skills that were standard parts of management assessments but are essential to all of us.

And that is why I was thrilled to discover the “Summary by Copilot” option that has now appeared in my Office suite. A lengthy email (chances are high that some ChatGPT has been involved): please summarize. Long transcript of a recorded Teams meeting: please summarize. An exhausting long chat history: please summarize.

The emerging possibilities of AI technologies to filter information, explore vast resource and present them in ways that are fit for human consumption are huge. Potentially bigger than the gains from pure content generation.

Today these summaries are still text-based. We should be looking at alternative ways to condense information in alternative formats that are optimized to be quicky understood. Graphical formats such as concept diagrams, timelines, mindmaps, fishbone diagrams are well known and have proven their value as information representation. Translating content to brain-friendly formats will further enhance our abilities to see patterns in information. This will be a true boost for us as knowledge workers.

And now, I’m taking a good old paper book from the shelf to enjoy the experience.

And now the Copilot summary of the post:

  • You expressed concern about the overwhelming amount of information being generated and the difficulty in processing it all.
  • You mentioned the importance of information processing skills and the ability to filter and focus on important items.
  • You were thrilled to discover the “Summary by Copilot” option in your Office suite to help summarize lengthy content.
  • You suggested exploring alternative, brain-friendly formats such as concept diagrams, timelines, and mindmaps to condense information.
  • You ended by saying you were going to enjoy reading a good old paper book.

About the author

Bart Vanparys

Director | Belgium
Bart graduated as Commercial Engineer (KU Leuven, Belgium) and has worked in IT consultancy since 2000. In 2011, he joined Capgemini Belgium where he took a lead role in building the Testing & Quality Management practice. He is currently supporting organizations in building testing & quality engineering capabilities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Slide to submit