Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Technology and Cultural Effects

This from Knowledge@Wharton describes the effects of technology on culture. I'm posting it to continue the discussion on work life balance that Michael Specht started.
From 1985 until the present, we have been reacting against our earlier self-centeredness by turning to networks, because according to Stone, "we believe that to be busy and to be connected is to be most alive. Now we're over-stimulated, over-wound, unfulfilled."

The cycle we are now entering is one in which we try to find ways to regain control of our attention and to satisfy our longing for a quality of life and work that allows us to connect in more direct, meaningful ways, said Stone. "The next aphrodisiac is committed, full-attention focus. Experiencing this engaged attention is to feel alive. Trusted filters, human or technical, and trusted protectors will help us remove distractions and manage boundaries, filtering signal from noise, enabling meaningful connections; these will be the tools and technologies that allow us to take our power back."

Constraining information is "precisely the role of technology that tracks our activities, aggregates it and uses the information to direct our attention," said David Sifry, CEO of Technorati, a search engine that tracks the world of weblogs. "It's a technological tap on the shoulder that saves us time. Time is the scarce resource; you've got 24 hours in a day; that's it. Attention is basically time directed to purpose."