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Technology Induced Attention Deficit Disorder, the new challenge

Written by: Brian Smith

Society today, ‘Today’ being defined as the time from the late 1980’s to the present, has undergone a rapid evolution in information collection, manipulation, storage and presentation.  With the introduction of personal computers, the internet, smart phones and more, life has been transformed into an environment where information readily becomes available on demand.

Along with this technology comes greater expectation.  Initially, users were limited to certain types of data; internal business data and standard news information, enabling people to provide limited information to management and peers.

As technology has become a focal point of life for most of the developed world, cost has decreased as rapidly as innovation has progressed, making information more accessible and affordable than ever before.

With this reduced cost and more readily available access, new problems have come to light.  Business and human process began to rely more on technology.  People began to rely on technology to make decisions or mange decisions.  In the past, it was only businesses that relied on technology to drive efficiencies, creating expectation previously achieved through people, process and time.  Now, personal expectations have been raised, for every aspect of our lives.  This fundamental change in expectation is the foundation for our assertion that ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) has manifested itself in many aspects of our lives, both in and out of the workplace; our term for this is Technology Induced Attention Deficit Disorder or TIADD.

Twelve years ago we introduced TIADD to the business community as part of our methodology for resolving business efficiency issues in the workplace.  In the late 1990’s, this disorder was manifesting itself regularly in the workplace, however throughout the early 2000’s, TIADD has begun to show up throughout society.

TIADD is a new foundation for inefficiency and vulnerability.  An entire generation of worker is being trained to rely solely on technology to collect, analyze, process and distribute information. The inefficiencies are created through lack of planning and understanding of foundational business and personal process, as it relates to an organization or individual prior to technology implementation.  Vulnerabilities are created when this technology is implemented with inefficiencies; people are psychologically affected by the negative impact of the technology.  Additionally, the individual changes to business and personal process being used to circumvent technology based processes not properly learned, affect the overall performance of individual people, social groups and entire companies.  These inefficiencies and vulnerabilities are the foundation for TIADD.

Physiology of the Problem

Since ADD has been determined to be a physiological disorder based on biological problems within the brain; it is important to clarify any physiological association to TIADD.  Since, many people already have clinical ADD or ADHD, any condition caused by technology would only be a manifestation of their physiological issues.  TIADD is a problem that is societal and caused solely by the introduction and reliance of technology in our current society.  I do not begin to imply that TIADD is yet physiological or biological in nature; however I do believe that through evolution of technology and people, it may become a physiological issue.

Sociology of Problem

The sociology of TIADD is very clear.  Society has become reliant on technology to streamline every facet of our life.  People use technology to streamline communications, write letters analyze numbers.  Mechanics utilize technology to diagnose cars, fix internal issues.  Medical professionals use technology to quickly diagnose ailments and as reference tools to better understand case studies and application of remedy.  Legal and banking professionals utilize technology to manipulate data and research trends or cases to quickly accomplish tasks that once took days, months or even years.  And people use technology to forge relationships based on a new level of communication standard, one in which delay can affect the relationship both short and long term.

This change to the very fabric of business and life process has trained people to expect results, based on technology, in less and less time.  If and often, when this technology fails to meet the individual, group or company expectations, impatience, distraction, impulsive requirements for information and results, hyper sensitivity to human interaction and a complete lack of social development within many social structures is causing a new uneasiness within society as a whole.

All of these symptoms are used to traditionally diagnose ADD, this onset of symptoms throughout society, is the basis for TIADD.

Technology Induced Attention Deficit Disorder has been established as a disorder, because of the use of psychology during the implementations of technology throughout the world.  In analyzing issues related to business process failure, workplace lack of moral and the association to the implementation of technology, a correlation was noted between psychological issues in the workplace and these implementations.  In addition, through the interview process of thousands of people, there was a common scenario; people were becoming more impatient and had less ability to function psychologically on problems that were once solved without technology.  Additionally, apprehension and an inability to focus on problem solving or understand issues caused by behavior between people seemed to have a root in technology based changes.

These examples are based on issues with people that caused companies to consider technology enhancements, replacements or fixes; for business process and moral problems within their organization.  The subjects used for this analysis are from all walks of life around the world.

Collection of Data

The collection of this data was governed by a structured data collection model known as BizVision, a very simple methodology, based on a series of questions, used to gain a high level understanding of the business process of people. The data also includes details about technology usage and individual interaction with other people.  All of this data is compiled into a simple database for compilation and review.  Models are designed, based on the process answers.  Emotional and ability profiles were developed, to help determine the level of education at each position and the ability to teach new process or technologies.

It is during this part of the analysis that the psychological affects and abilities of each worker are reviewed again.  We look at our data compilations and uncovered severe apprehension, lack of attention and inability to focus or change, as areas of concern.  It is here that we saw TIADD manifest itself.

Our findings are simple and clear.  As people have evolved with technology, their expectations for performance and ability to deal with human emotion caused by both personal and business process failures have changed.  People have less ability to focus on problem solving, less ability to remain patient and less ability to accept people with less ability than themselves.  These flaws and the ensuing result, lack of patience, lack of focus, emotional distress, work induced stress and human conflict at all levels point to TIADD.

People have been programmed into relying on technology to solve problems and solve them quickly.  People do not want to offer patience or support to other people who cannot fix problems with the efficiencies expected in a technology based society. These expectations and lack of basic human qualities, once appreciated in society can now be defined as Technology Induced Attention Deficit Disorder.

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