Saturday, November 11, 2006
Slaves to technology
Those who know me well know that I take my music (particularly Electronica/Dance) very seriously. My iPod is playing a bunch of recent downloads and top amongst them are some albums by Nitin Sawhney. One of the tracks (on his Prophesy Album) that I have listened to many times is 'Street Guru'. It’s a track that samples heavily from a conversation with a US city Cab Driver, the driver muses on the fact that people have become slaves to time and technology…
“Development has pushed us away from other people”
“A lot of times people are mad because they want immediate access, immediate information, but sometimes you just gotta wait and let things happen”
“People get in the cab & I say it will take 5 minutes and they say “it should only take 3”….nobody is going to put on your tombstone, I got here in 5 minutes instead of 7..”
“Technology has made us slaves to time”
These are thoughts that clearly resonate with me, possibly from a different context and perspective but resonating nonetheless. The world of document/content management and workflow (you knew there was a connection coming up!) was constructed solely for the purpose of automating manual tasks and delivering and moving information at ever faster speeds. All with the intension of increasing efficiency, but efficiency isn’t simply about doing things faster…
ECM technologies are (I believe) essential in any enterprise to save them from drowning in a sea of irrelevant information. The mass of information facing people in their working life is real, and has reached a critical status – yet as I often pointed out, most of the information (documents) are irrelevant and wasteful.
Indeed it sometimes seems as if we spend our lives responding to irrelevancies, we keep busy, but don’t achieve all that much.
At the time of originally writing this post (long hand in my B&W A4 hardback notebook) I am sitting next to a man on an aeroplane who keeps sneakily responding to emails on his Blackberry mid flight to Seattle. I myself at Chicago airport earlier this morning opened my email account to see 10 emails relating to the same topic, a simple phone call to one person would have done the trick, but instead I have 10 emails with 5 people copied on each. And here is the rub, everyone wants immediate action, yet they don’t tend to see the major contradiction between these 50 emails (which would go onto to spurn yet others) that had brought closure to nothing.
Everyone wants immediate responses, to issues that may in their totality be important but are not particularly urgent. In our haste to respond, we fire off ill thought out responses that trigger yet more interactions…..”technology has made us slaves to time”