How Do We Know When We’ve Reached the Limit?

Let me know if you see any signs or symptoms of reaching a threshold capacity for managing complexity, disruption, chaos, uncertainty, etc.. Network effects predicts a continuing acceleration of civil complexity and chaos.

Psychologists and anthropologists say the human brain has a cognitive surplus. But surely there is a tipping-point at which the way we use our brains falls behind the growth rate of shared public information and knowledge. Our dashboards run out of space for monitoring what’s going on.

But maybe we deceive ourselves in the same way we think we are successfully multi-tasking while clinical studies show that we actually fail at it. Yes, when disrupted from tasks male IQs can drop by 15 points, women – 10 points! And it can take up to 20 minutes to get back into task after being distracted.

Do we know how much we have forgotten in order to make room for new information? Studies show most people think they have above average IQ (think about it). Its easy to fool oneself – what’s your objective baseline?

Are we being systematically trained by our frantic lifestyle (not evil genius) to constrain our thinking into tight patterns? Maybe we are losing ability to be reflective or to consider broad and long lasting implications of our actions.

How do we know if we are successfully adapting to the accelerating pace of disruptive technologies? Its not like we have traditional benchmarks.

I want to know what you think. We stopped talking about information overload long ago. Are we getting worn down by change fatigue? Choice fatigue? Are we slowing acclimatizing to a state of confusion and disengagement? Is it unfashionable to ask these questions? Uncool?

Shall we pretend there is no dancing elephant in our cyberspace?

I need to know!

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About Randal B. Adcock

President and Chief Innovation Officer, Wayfinders Business Co-operative
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