Training Industry Quarterly - Spring 2012 - (Page 11)

emerGING teChNoLoGIes | gary woodill they don’t call them “cracKBerries” for nothing the darK side of digital igitization is a unique form of representation, where some aspect of reality is broken into discrete units, which are then represented by at least two “digits” (for example, 0 and 1). The power of digitization is not in binary coding or the ability to transmit information. The telegraph could do both. Rather, the difference is in the ability of computers to break holistic phenomena into discrete pieces, represent those pieces as digits, store this data in memory or media, manipulate the digits to transform them into something else according to instructions in stored programs and then output the results in either digital form for later use or transmission to other computers, or in the form of analog (re)constructions that are then available to humans through their senses. The digital computer and related high speed networks are new representational, transformational and distribution technologies that, together, “change everything.” The digital revolution is not subsiding; and, technology in the 21st century is only fueling the demand for growth of digitized content at extraordinary velocity. With the need for speed and access comes a dark side. For example, what a knowledge seeker actually experiences in a search is ultimately a set of results based on factors far beyond the influence or control of that individual, or for that matter, the control of organizations contributing to the body of knowledge the seeker is after. Critical issues in a digital world First, there is simply too much information available, raising issues of findability and trust. Last year, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told a conference, “Between the dawn of civilization through 2003, there was just five exabytes of information created. That much information is now created in two days, and the pace is increasing. People aren’t ready for the technology revolution that’s going to happen to them.” Even when we find a set of relevant answers on the Internet, we struggle with making judgments about the quality of the information we have found. In the age of globalization and corporate competition, the results of the search that you receive may be highly influenced by someone else’s commercial interests. With the use of personalization filters based on your preferences, previous searches, personal profiles and location, the results that you D get may be quite self-centered, a bubble based your interests. This greatly limits the possibility of finding things by serendipity, or being intrigued or surprised by something you have never seen before. Your cultural biases and economic circumstances may figure significantly in your search results, as artificial intelligence engines serve up recommendations based on the preferences of “people like you.” All this can lead to a reduction of originality, creativity and innovation as we become entranced with and reinforced by our own likes and ideas. It is the diversity of “weak ties” in a network that promotes the circulation of new thoughts, not the sameness of clusters of close friends and family. Of course, the word “friend” has become devalued in the world of digital networks, as social media creates temporary bonds of being “alone together,” often accompanied by a real loss of intimacy. For a generation growing up with digital technologies, it must all seem quite “natural,” part of their world taken for granted. There is little doubt that using texting, social media and always-available information is changing the way we learn, the way we think and the way we relate to other human beings. As neural pathways are laid down through experience, the use of digital technologies must result in unknowable, but important changes to our brains. The digital revolution has resulted in a new set of dependencies for humans. How do you feel if you can’t find your mobile phone? Panic? Distress? Then you may have a serious case of “nomophobia” — a strong negative reaction to being without your mobile phone. They don’t call them “Crackberries” for nothing. And, there are those out there who are trying to exploit those dependencies, either through the social control of advertising or the more sinister dangers of cyberwarfare. While there are some remarkable technologies and tools for mobile learning and ubiquitous content consumption, it is important for learning professionals to understand how the system functions in this “revolutionary” digital environment. Dr. Gary Woodill is CEO of i5 Research and senior analyst, Float Mobile Learning. Email Gary. 11 Training Industry Quarterly, Spring 2012 / A Training Industry, Inc. ezine / www.trainingindustry.com/TIQ http://www.i5research.com http://www.trainingindustry.com/TIQ

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Quarterly - Spring 2012

From Where I Sit: Training in Alignment
Table of Contents
Ad Index
Guest Editor: Leveraging Goal-Setting & Feedback
Learning at the Speed of Business
The Dark Side of Digital
Closing the Generation Gap Between Leaders
Tomorrow's Learning: Blended & Just-In-Time
Assessing Learning and Performance
The Science of Engagement
Engaging Senior Leaders in the Learning and Development Process
Six Critical Measurement Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
The Difference Makers: Identifying and Hiring the Right People
Casebook: DTCC Learning: Developing a Training Digital Nervous System
Leadership Competencies: Delivering Results
Tweet Suite
Company News
Closing Arguments: Measure For Measure

Training Industry Quarterly - Spring 2012

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