If you read everything you can get your hands on, like I do, you can accumulate some pretty useless information. One thing that I am continually drawn to are the outcomes of "scientific" studies. You know, like, "Study shows that most network administrators drive blue cars." I won't even go into the question I usually have in reading about these studies, which is, "Who cares?"
As you know, these studies can be spun toward any type of technology or point of view you want to highlight, like:
"Linux users on average weigh less than Windows users," sponsored by Red Hat and Jenny Craig. (I just made that up.)
But then you have the studies that come out of universities that establish patterns or correlate results on topics that make you wonder who thought of them, much less how they got grant money to conduct the survey.
But it's rare when you find a study sponsored by a group that draws a negative correlation to users of its products. For example:
Since my thirst for information is only matched by joy in the absurd, it was with particular glee that I came across the description of a study done in 2005 by scientists from the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London; a study that was conducted for Hewlett-Packard.
The upshot? Excessive day-to-day use of technology — whether it's sending e-mails or using mobile phones — can be more distracting and harmful to the IQ than smoking marijuana.
I have so many questions:
- If this was true back in 2005 before everyone went hog wild over their smartphones, what possible shape could we be in now? Are we now just a better-dressed version of the walking dead?
- Did HP think this result was an endorsement of their product? Who thought it was a good idea to pit the use of a computer against an illicit substance if there was a chance the computer could lose? (Or win, depending on your point of view.)
- What must the control group on this study have been like?
So what do you guys think? Do you think your use of technology has impaired your IQ?
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.