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Digitalisation and the elimination of latency 

From Work’s Intimacy, by Melissa Gregg, loc 3594-3609:

Describing the impact of the BlackBerry in 2006 –just before the iPhone changed mobile computing for keeps –Research in Motion’s John Balsillie explained his bestselling devices as “latency eliminators.” According to this logic, Balsillie argued, “successful companies have hearts … and intrinsic force that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. BlackBerries … allow those hearts to beat faster” (in Connors 2006). At a time when the most profitable companies were preparing to hand out multi-million dollar handshakes to CEOs who left a trail of retrenched workers in their wake, one could be forgiven for being skeptical about Balsillie’s choice of imagery. 

The language of love may help to explain the market triumph of his product, but this book enables us to identify some of the real-life “latencies” that smartphones help to eliminate. These include time spent with children, grocery shopping, leaving the house, even sleep. The hearts of employees may be beating faster in the wake of mobile technologies, but it is questionable whether this is with care, affection, or friendship. In many cases, it is in anticipation of the next work-related demand and the next productivity innovation imposed by management.

Categories: Cognitive Triage: Practice, Culture and Strategies Communicative Escalation and Cultural Abundance: How Do We Cope? The Intensification of Work

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