ITB 2024 Special Reporting
Just How Smart Are Our Smart Gadgets?
By Andrew Grant
Thursday, 18th March 2010
More than half of 1,100 people researched have said they always respond to an email 'immediately' or as soon as possible, with 21% admitting they would interrupt a meeting to do so.

Apparently 62% of people check work messages at home or on holiday. We are flooded with information '& often don't now know the difference between quantity and quality.  A University of London study done for Hewlett-Packard found that "infomania" — a term connected with addiction to email and texting — can lower your IQ by twice as much as smoking marijuana. 

The brain hates uncertainty, and once you've tried to process 30 or 40 emails, you've already ruined your brain chemistry for higher level tasks that are going to create value. When brain stimuli levels get too high, complex thinking becomes more difficult, making it harder to make decisions and solve problems — key roles for all leaders.

Those who are constantly breaking away from tasks to react to email or text messages suffer similar effects on the mind as losing a night's sleep. 

But perhaps that's OK, as the very device that keeps us awake, our smart phone, now has a best selling app of the month – ‘Sleep Cycle' , which tracks our sleep or lack thereof and then tells us what we should already have worked out - that we are kept awake simply by playing with this device!

So do we control our computers and other newfangled electronic ‘timesaving' devices, or do they control us? It seems they actually use us as a portal between the glittering new world of information and the mundane world where ordinary people have to eat and drink and feel and make real not-always-rose-colored  contact.

Computers use our nimble fingers to unlock their codes, releasing raw information into the ether. And in the process our IQ drops. We enter a zombie-like state of sleep deprivation, and our creativity is actually lowered.

You see the problem is that a leader's job is to inspire, set a vision, give direction, solve high level problems. To do this you need to be inspired, and you need to able to focus. But here is the saddest of news, that as a leader worthy of following you set the tone for the rest of your team/staff/office/employees so they will aspire to follow you.

So not only do you risk dropping your IQ and limiting your creative thinking, you also risk a whole office taking cues for you doing the same. Our teenagers would call this the corporate version of a dutch oven.

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