Monday, 27 April 2009

How BlackBerries Caused the Credit Crisis

Ever been to one of those meetings where, halfway through someone's crucial point, the suit pulls out his BlackBerry? As the tiny screen draws him in, he stops listening, and his voice dwindles to a murmur.

"Uh huh."

"Uh huh."

Turns out that's not the only thing dwindling. His IQ is shrinking, too. By one estimate, multitasking shaves up to 40 points off your IQ.

Okay, so your boss isn't paying attention - but think: across the whole subscriber base, this could add up to quite a lot!

It's easy enough to estimate how many IQ-point hours have been lost to this tiny device. Let's say they're used an average of 20 minutes a day, and that there's been linear growth in the user base. That works out to .. 520 billion IQ-point-hours lost.

520 billion?! That's the equivalent of 35,000 very bright people available full-time for thirty years. That's one hell of a mental handicap.

What could that be doing to society?

Fortunately, a lot of his huge deficit of this is harmlessly discharged on things like, oh, forgetting to flush the toilet, increased golf scores, and walking into telephone poles.

But what about the rest? What might go wrong if you hand out IQ-depleting devices to management teams everywhere?

I admit, this is far from conclusive, but I think I might be on to something.