dgr May 05, 2010 9:10 am

The distraction imposed by the e-mail teaser for Ed Cone�™s column and the abstract for Nicholas Carr�™s book propelled a) a reaction there's nothing new here and b) a fear that the curves representing the rising complexity of the problems facing humankind and our waning ability to critically analyze, develop and implement solutions are approaching intersection at an accelerating rate. WRT the former, I recall how I struggled through �" hating it �" speed-reading courses to try to absorb pages of printed information in seconds. My speed certainly increased at the cost of comprehension. Nonetheless, the ability to modulate according to the circumstances has allowed me to succeed and arrive at solutions to complex problems when necessary. It his however the suggestion that our cognitive wiring is adapting to filter all but the ubiquitous metaphorical equivalent of the 8-second sound-bite that is frightening. "Problems can not be solved at the same level of awareness that created them," reportedly said Einstein. It took powerful minds to create the ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The impact of our inability to find a solution will exact a cost for generations, if not forever. It may in-fact extinguish some species! Similarly, great minds spawned the nuclear age but we seem incapable of resolving the social issues that threaten to leverage that technology to destroy thousands of lives, if not one or more complete cities. How many generations do we have before life as we know it is no longer sustainable? I wonder if there were parallels foreshadowing the demise of the Roman Empire? ... depressing musings of an old technologist.