The IET's "Engineering & Technology" magazine always contains articles that catch my attention. In the current issue, it includes a piece on Baroness Professor Susan Greenfield's research on how the "working on screen culture" will change the way our brains think.
She argues this is because "our standards of satisfaction and fulfillment may be different". She also argues the information overloaded, screen culture is "not conducive to taking time to think".
Baroness Greenfield is a leading neuroscientist and director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. She is known for her research into the brain including the effects of Information Technology on the brain cells of the young and the old.
A bit of Web searching brought up some quotations from a speech she made in December 2007.
" (Workers') interaction with screen culture often suggests they are not accessing intuitive feedback (pattern recognition), but acting in the moment, out of the buzz of instant sensation. Excessive reaction to external stimuli, rather than internal analysis can make people prone to being more reckless."
"The answer is creativity. People who can make connections and see what others can't - who can generate those 'Aha!' moments - will see the world and its problems in new ways. This means that as we shift from consumerism to experience to active creativity, there will be a corresponding workforce shift."
"Managers need to lead differently:
Cater for the individual
Guide them in being constructive with risk
Although she is looking at how this change will affect the way organisations are managed, it seems likely it would also have an impact on those involved in communication.
Online user assistance can cater for the individual (e.g. segmented, filtered, views of information) and it can guide workers in being constructive with risk. However, it is currently weak at providing a "direct experience" and at promoting creativity. Maybe these weaknesses should be addressed?
Labels: technical authors, technical communication