Sunday, February 25, 2007

Technological Overload

What are we going to do?

Information is flowing so fast, communication makes us accessible at any time, leaving one no way to focus for more than 15 minutes. Our forefathers could focus on a goal for days and weeks on end usually without interruption. No cell phones to interrupt the walk in the forest. No e-mails that “Urgently” caused them to reply instantly. Business was done at the pace of the mail.

Now, we have 2 or 3 conversations with one person at one time. An e-mail comes to us. We reply quickly. Then we think of something else to say. We send a second reply. But, at the same moment, the receiver’s e-mail arrives in our inbox. We reply to that, and they reply to your second e-mail. Now, instead of taking a day or so to think about how to word an intelligent response, you have two conversations going with someone. Instead of being patient to hear back from your correspondent, you “throw the ball in their court” to respond as quickly as possible. If you can’t reach them instantly, you can Skype them, chat with them, and, to make sure they know that something is pressing, you text it.

Is anything so important to disturb one’s quiet time? Children are unfocused, people don’t know why they do things because we don’t allow them time for them to develop their own thoughts.

We have to insist,..No. We have to fight, rather, for quiet time. Business is so much better now that it is global. Other people are working while you are sleeping and vice versa, yet when we awake, instead of morning meditation or a quiet cup of coffee in the brisk morning air to gather our thoughts, we reply to e-mails that are “urgent”.

As a boy, I used to rise early in the morning and go surf before school. Then, I would return, grab some breakfast, and head to school to sit through class. I had a week for each assignment. Now, it seems our class assignments are due by lunch in the professors’ inbox. More information must be consumed.

When I surf after I have done e-mails, it is like little electron parasites are in my blood and taint my thoughts for the rest of the day.

More money can be made, but more information must be handled. We know that the average person needs more than one job to keep up with the speed of information, the speed of economy, today. So, now, instead of that technology giving us more freedom, we have to become a contractor, just so we can juggle 6 clients.

And the sad part is, we only do the base minimal things that client is asking for because of the need of "now".
Client 01: “Change this period.” Period changed. Just ignore the crappy coding.
Client 02: “Could you replace this picture?” Picture changed. Ignore the fact that the layout would be better if you brought out the blues and made it off-center.
Client 03: “did you send me your resume?” Resume sent. Skip updating the current address. They will just e-mail me and when they have to pay me, they will simply ask me via e-mail. It is quicker than thinking to look at the resume.
Client 04: “Did you come up with a layout for the new site?” It has been uploaded. Thank God I just bought a template to work with. It is free and easy, though artistically a 5th grader could do better.
Client 05: “Did you book my tickets to Nairobi?” Booked. Confirmation code. I don’t know if they have customer service, but they must be good because it was the top of the Google list.
Client 06: “What was that website?”

Client 01: “Hey, you forgot to change that period.” Oh crap, I raced on to the picture change, and sending my resume, I forgot that.
Client 04: “You didn’t answer your phone. I need..”
Client 03: “I forgot…”

Balls are getting dropped. Where did finesse go? Where did taking our time to do a good job go? I know the older generation would say ‘well, you have too much on your plate?’ I would say, no, I am working with so many clients because I can’t afford to put anything on my plate!

I know that there is a lot on the plates of this Information Generation, but that is only because we are expected to not only move at the speed of information and adapt, but we are expected to do as good of a job as they did when they had at least a day, if not a week to do the same task. ‘You have computers now,’ they reply. ‘You should be able to do it.’ NEWS FLASH: Not even my techno-savvy generation cannot adapt fast enough to keep up with technology today!!! Hey, down here, in the trenches! I am telling you point-blank that what was good enough even last week isn’t good enough today!!!

A new program is invented every 10 minutes that is better, faster, and more efficient. It took you how long to learn punch-card inputs for your room sized computers? That is 6 new programs an hour, 144 new programs a day (globalization, remember?), 1008 per week (nope, no days off; you will fall behind because others are working on Sundays now too; Saturdays are the new Fridays, right?), 4,032 new programs a month, and 12,094 per quarter. Why did I stop at 3 months? Information will be traveling faster by then, and the rate will have grown exponentially. (Read more about the speed of information.)

I MISS taking my time to put TLC into my HTML! I miss taking time to read a chapter to improve my skills. Or, bless the Lord, a fictional NOVEL! I get my education from an RSS feed!

Now, the managers ask for a good, quality job, but they don’t want to give you the time,..forget the fact that they are still paying $8 an hour!

All I am trying to get at is information overload. People, good, stable, balanced people who are truly cut out for greatness are swamped in information overload. They need space to think. Technology is supposed to allow for MORE flexibility, not constrain us.

I don’t need an electron-induced virus stealing the pleasure of dropping into a wave. I don’t want my mind at the felt cubicle when the cool breeze is blowing my hair, the warm water is rising and falling, and the sea gulls. It is a battle for the mind right now.

We need to use technology to be able to free ourselves, free our minds.

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