Editor's Note: People Pay The Price For Higher Productivity
Before I sit down to write this column, I'm going to get a cup of coffee. I need a bit of caffeine to get the creative juices flowing. Well, OK, let me first tell you what I'm going to write about. I had an interesting conversation with a cabdriver in NYC the other day about his belief that technology, while making us productive and efficient, is making us too distracted, too dependent, and too ... Wait, I've got to read this IM from our head of research. He's telling me about some new data on IT and productivity. No question, IT does lead to increased productivity. Alan Greenspan has made his feelings on that point known -- in testimony last year and again last month, according to excerpts from his speech I read online. Hold on, I'll find that Web site and tell you exactly what he said. While I'm waiting for the site to load, let me get back to my story. See, the cabdriver thinks we've become so dependent on technology -- calculators for basic addition and subtraction, navigational systems in cars that prevent you from having to read an actual map, pagers and cell phones that make us accessible all the time ... one second, I need to dial into a conference call. Since it'll take a few minutes for everyone to dial in, I can finish my story -- as soon as I read this IM from our events editor, who's looking for a PowerPoint presentation. Let me call that up and send it to him. Anyway, back to the story. My cabbie wonders if children who grow up with all of this technology will ever really use their brains to the fullest capability. What will it do to short-term and long-term memory development? I'm not sure, but it's a good question for my sister, a pediatric psychologist. I'd call her and ask, but I can't remember her work number. It's programmed on my cell phone, but that's in my car, and I'm stuck on this conference call. What was I looking for on the Web? Oh, the Greenspan speech. Better yet, I'll IM one of our reporters who probably has it handy. That'll save me some time searching.
You know, if I had time to get to the point, I'd tell you that this whole notion of IT and productivity and how it affects our work and home lives is something we explore in this week's cover package. It explains how people are coping and what companies are doing to make the most of technology and the employees who use it without burning them out.
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