Thursday, July 10, 2008

Are we losing our ability to think deeply -- interesting WSJ & BusinessWeek articles

I've been thinking a lot about information overload, especially after coming back from vacation. I've got no answer or solution to how to best handle information overload -- despite asking my so-called followers on Twitter.

Meanwhile, L. Gordon Crovitz at the Wall St. Journal wrote an interesting article, "Unloading Information Overload: Are we losing our ability to think deeply?" As he wrote, "Consider the rest of this article an 800-word test of your ability to maintain attention."

I can wait.

Did you read it?

There are days (like this one) when I am convinced all our technology is undermining our ability to think.

Of course, there are some in the tech sector who see a simple solution. No, it's not turning off IM, limiting time on email. The solutions is (drum roll, please) more technology. Check out "May We Have Your Attention, Please? With the workplace ever more full of distractions, researchers are developing tools to keep us on task," a recent BusinessWeek article.

Here are some interesting stats:
  • 28% -- Percentage of day average U.S. worker losses to interruptions.
  • $650 billion -- The annual toll interruptions take on productivity.
  • U.S. knowledge workers apparently can focus on one item for only three minutes before turning to something else.
For those who have read this far, thanks!

On the other hand, I've got to get back to work.


awkward and admitted said...

I just stumbled upon this article, and found it very interesting.

I do think that technology is making us dumber as a whole society. IMing undermines proper grammar and spelling; social networking sites rob people of actual human interaction. While certain innovations have furthered us, they have also made us dependent on them to live our lives.

Norman Birnbach said...

Yes, that's why, when your PDA loses power or you go out of range, it's so frustrating -- because you can't access Google et al. to look up information that either previous generations would have known or would have considered to be the most arcane of trivia.