Stress and the Information Age

[ Awakenings Home ] [ Stress Main Page ] [ Back  ] [ Next ]






The stress of adjusting to new technologies.







Moments of peace and serenity are often missing from modern life.


To assist in managing all of this information we have computers.  These are the same computers that have helped to create the our current mass of information. Computer technology also demonstrates a rapid acceleration of change.

In 1966 Gordon Moore, the founder of Intel, stated that the power and complexity of the silicon chip would double every 12-18 months. This 18-month prediction has proven true. Today’s computer chip is four million times as powerful as its predecessor of 30 years ago. These powerful processors have ushered us into the Information Age.

The net result is that in modern society we have increasingly powerful machines to manipulate and process an ever-increasing amount of information. New products, inventions, procedures, and policies, all based on new, rapidly available information, are announced every day.

Computer technology, the information highway, and the Internet are creating something new, techno-stress. Techo-stress is the stress of adjusting to new technologies. There is also the concept of "time sickness" which comes from trying to juggle too many options with too little time. We experience events happening faster and faster. It is difficult for us to slow down. We actually become impatient with the "slower computers" (which are in fact amazingly fast) when we have to wait that extra few seconds for something to happen. Frustration and stress arrive as we wait for the monitor screen to change. "Future shock" (too much change in too short of a time) has arrived.

We have moved out of the Industrial Age into the Information Age. We confront continual adjustment to new and changing situations. One hundred channels on cable TV bombard us with sensory and information overload. The 24 hour news stations tell us all about it. If you just listen to the evening news you learn in 30 minutes all on the major events of the day from around the world. As a member of the Global Village you now learn almost instantaneously what in the past would have taken months or years to know. The result is that you are more immediately impacted by a wide variety of world events, most of which seem to be "bad" news of crime, violence and political conflict. Downsizing, restructuring, and re-engineering threaten formerly secure jobs. Family life is in turmoil. A safe haven from change is only temporarily found, perhaps, while on a vacation or in just a quite stolen moment as you admire the beauty of a flower garden from your office window. Such moments of peace and serenity are often missing from modern life. It is hard to predict what will happen next. The rules are always changing and the game is not the same.

In the new Information Society most of our stress comes from confronting the mixture of psychological, sociological, and emotional events associated with life in this state of continual flux. The fundamental situation is that:

  • We live in a time of rapid change.
  • Change itself is changing and becoming faster.

Stress no longer comes mainly from threats to physical safety but from interactions with others and the demands of modern culture.

[ Awakenings Home ] [ Stress Main Page ] [ Back  ] [ Next ]