Wednesday, November 08, 2006

"What Is the Technology For?"

"Researchers have...found that a distraction such as your cell phone ringing, has a greater impact on your concentration than smoking some marijuana.

"'Civilization advances by extending the number of operations which we can perform without thinking about them,' philosopher North Whitehead noted in 1911. Technology should automate the mundane--the trivial truths--so that we have more time to think about great truths.

"If technology is not making our lives more convenient, and giving us more time to think, then we need to question: What is the technology for?

--Gerry McGovern, "Managing in a Technology-Driven World"

Thought this quote was an interesting one, though my thoughts aren't wholly developed about it.

I'm not sure what I think about the statement about cell phones and marijuana... After all, cell phones can build community, and I'm not sure the idea of an attention span should be utterly sancrosanct--it is often some of the "distractions" from what we think of as our "real work" that enrich and deepen our lives the most, even if they make it difficult to concentrate at times.

Then again, there are limits to the stretching of our attention spans, and McGovern makes a good point about taking time to think about what we're using the technology for. I've often thought that our society has made an awful waste of the time we save by technology--all we've done is crammed more productivity into that extra time instead of using it to do things better (and also to do better things) during that time.

1 comment:

cenobyte said...

Oh, hello. I just mentioned to Rilla that I now know you. I think that's keen.

Your Vespers buddy.