Welcome to the party

Welcome to the party

Summary: Researchers at the University of London Institute of Psychiatry have found that the interruptions brought on by instant messaging, cell phones, and e-mail can actually make you--technical term coming up--stupid. The constant task-switching will (temporarily) impair your intelligence to the tune of 10 IQ points.

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TOPICS: United Kingdom
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Researchers at the University of London Institute of Psychiatry have found that the interruptions brought on by instant messaging, cell phones, and e-mail can actually make you--technical term coming up--stupid. The constant task-switching will (temporarily) impair your intelligence to the tune of 10 IQ points.

So what?

As our "connectedness" to friends and colleagues improves, the IQ problem is only going to get worse. Where will it end? I think the answer comes from the "hoot & holler" boxes used by traders (audio links between trading floors that are kept constantly open); from the Accenture Technology Labs' "virtual corridor," a large, always-on video pipe that connects the common areas of our North American locations; and from IM applications that let you maintain live video windows with your "buddies" even when you’re not chatting.

These are the first steps on a path that will lead to what I call the Big Party: a time when all of our friends and colleagues are constantly with us in some fashion--maybe high-bandwidth, maybe low, maybe video, maybe audio, maybe only text--but always on the periphery of our consciousness and instantly, casually, trivially accessible. You'll be surrounded by a great chattering cloud, and you'll be courting pariah-hood and professional failure if you don't participate. Of course, if the University of London Institute of Psychiatry is right, you'll be courting moron-hood if you do. Decisions, decisions.

Topic: United Kingdom

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5 comments
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  • Yuk...

    I don't want to be constantly connected for crying out loud.

    Gimme a break and quit crawlin' up my butt.
    ordaj@...
  • Nobody cares about intelligence.

    Putting aside that IQ is a flawed test that cannot accurately measure intelligence anyway. Or even the likelihood of the proposed scenario.

    "Of course, if the University of London Institute of Psychiatry is right, you?ll be courting moron-hood if you do. Decisions, decisions."

    Nobody cares. At least in the U.S. Intelligence isn't valued. As demonstrated by the quote, "Its not what you know, its who you know." I wish it wasn't this way, but it is.
    Zinoron
  • Duh!

    Does the University of London grab the prize for; Stating the Obvious?

    It is pretty clear that constant task-switching slows us down. The traditional answer has always been; Time Management. There are plenty of different courses available.

    So many people equate being connected with communication. Communication is a goal (and, if it happens, a result) not a process or a function.

    Being connected is only useful if it leads to communication...

    I have long had a problem with IM, and mobile systems. Do people really communicate - do they leave behind the messages they post, and move on with a shared understanding of something? In my experience this is extremely rare - more exception than norm.

    After the telephone only e-mail and the Web, in my view, are great communications media. Blackberry, and mobile text messaging, can be good for short messages but the quality of the resulting communication could almost always be improved upon.

    I freely concede that my view is partly due to my profession. As a consultant I live or die by the quality of my communications - I can't afford for my customers to 'not get it' - and I have seen IM used in real commercial applications where communication at speed is essential. However, such situations are as rare as hen's teeth.

    I had a revealing trip down memory lane with my father recently. My father can remember typing pools, and piles of paper memoranda. In his day common advice included: Write something only when it is impossible, or less time consuming, than waiting until the next time you meet the person/people you are writing to, and then 'sleep on it' before re-reading, re-drafting, and sending it.

    When was the last time any of us waited 24 hours, to ensure the message we are about to send said exactly the right thing? I'm not arguing for a return to paper - but more thought in communications will improve the quality of your life, the lives you touch, and (apparently) it will make you smarter!
    Stephen Wheeler
  • Forget Intelligence - Think Prizes

    Man forget the points lost of intelligence, today I learned that all the IQ points I lost playing mobile games will finally result in real prizes.

    Instead of the gratification of simply winning, games brought to you by Sennari Mobile and Channel 1 Games will deliver
    real prizes to users, such as free handset upgrades, phone accessories, and
    concert tickets.

    Pretty cool eh? Score high on some mobile games and get (for example)
    a free Nokia upgrade over your existing piece of junk?

    Awesome.
    oyecaracol
  • Calling your bluff

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to see a picture of this virtual mega lobby that you've dreamed up over there at ATL - post a photo of it and heck maybe there is an open source concept here where we can join our various corporate hallways etc...
    ted.smith@...